New Bluetooth chip brings premium features to cheaper wireless earbuds

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There was a time when having a great pair of wireless earbuds meant spending a fortune. While pricey options still exist, particularly when it comes to noise-canceling features, Qualcomm is hoping to expand open the floodgates by putting some of its best audio features in a new series of Bluetooth chips aimed at the next generation of lower-cost wireless earbuds.

The QCC3056 is the first of Qualcomm’s new QCC305x series, coming with a number of features borrowed from the higher-tier 51xx series chips, as well as some new capabilities. Wireless earbuds equipped with this chip would be capable of features like wake word-activated voice assistants, Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation, aptX Adaptive up to 96Khz audio resolution, aptX Voice, and dual-microphone Echo Cancelling and Noise Suppression. But that’s not all.

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Qualcomm Bluetooth Le Audio

Qualcomm Bluetooth Le AudioSource: Qualcomm

The new chip will also support Bluetooth LE Audio, which was announced earlier this year at CES 2020. We have a whole page to explain what you need to know about Bluetooth LE Audio if you’d like a deeper dive, but to put it simply, Bluetooth LE Audio will allow for better sound transmission at farther distances, as well as multi-stream audio sharing between multiple Bluetooth devices.

And because it’s Low Energy, it should be able to do all of this without sacrificing battery life, which is always something to consider even with the best wireless earbuds. Low power consumption is also a big focus due to the fact that the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) would like to see this technology expand to hearing-aids and other use-cases.

The Bluetooth community continues to drive the technology forward to meet evolving market needs and create new opportunities. LE Audio is a prime example. Not only will it enhance the performance of existing Bluetooth audio products, it introduces Audio Sharing, a new audio use case poised to transform the way we experience audio and connect with the world around us.

The new Snapdragon 888 will support the audio capabilities of the QCC305x chips, meaning it’s simply a matter of when new wireless earbuds will launch with the new chip for users to start taking advantage of these new features.

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