Qualcomm’s ‘Snapdragon Sound’ aims to improve wireless audio quality
Barely days after unveiling his plan to bring advanced haptics on Android, Qualcomm announced another ambitious venture aimed at filling gaps in device performance. This time around, it is focused on improving the quality of wireless sound on phones, headsets and gaming headsets by combining its mobile and audio technologies to solve latency and connection issues. That way, he says, you won’t suffer from dropping out while streaming a playlist on your headphones or missing out on important information while using a headset in a gaming session.
To achieve this, Qualcomm uses Bluetooth latencies as low as 89 milliseconds (which it says are 45% lower than its rivals), active noise cancellation, support for 24-bit high-resolution audio 96 kHz and super wideband voice. As usual, device makers will be able to license the chip giant’s technology, offered under the new “Snapdragon Sound” banner, to add it to their equipment.
Its first customers are Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi and headphone specialist Audio-Technica, both of which will integrate the audio suite into their future products. If all goes according to plan, the Snapdragon Sound badge will start appearing on everything from phones and headphones, initially, to additional devices, including PCs, smartwatches, and augmented reality glasses later.
While high-quality audio is readily available in all of the use cases identified by Qualcomm – from lossless music streams to Tide (And so on, Spotify) at Dolby Atmos support on helmets – the goal here is to eradicate some of the flaws that accompany the wireless listening experience to bring it closer, finally, to wired audio.
“The human ear is very sensitive to the issues, latencies and other challenges that commonly occur when streaming music, video conferencing, or games over wireless connections,” said James Chapman, vice president and Managing Director, Voice, Music and Wearable Devices, Qualcomm Technologies International. “We seek to deliver innovations to solve common consumer problems at virtually all points of audio interaction.”
To promote its new offering, Qualcomm has partnered with Amazon Music (which introduced lossless streams and downloads in 2019) to create a high-quality audio playlist with songs from contemporary and classic artists including British singer Celeste and punk rock icons The Clash.