On March 26th, with the launch of Apple’s new Airpod Pros, true wireless earphones (TWS) have entered the era of active noise reduction.
Qualcomm recently announced the launch of two new Bluetooth chips designed for wireless headsets – the QCC514x and QCC304x SoCs. It delivers more robust connectivity, longer battery life, greater comfort, and integrates dedicated hardware to support Qualcomm™ Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (Hybrid ANC), voice assistants and top-notch wireless sound and voice quality.
Currently, Qualcomm plans to start shipping its new chips to manufacturers in April. Additionally, the company said it expects new SoC-based products to hit the market in the second quarter of 2020.
According to reports, the Qualcomm QCC304x is an entry-level flash-programmable Bluetooth SoC that targets more affordable mid-to-low-end earbuds. , with a single DSP core that is “not programmable, but configurable.” This means that manufacturers will be able to adjust DSP settings, but not be able to install new profiles themselves. It will also support button activation of Assistant instead of wake.
According to Qualcomm, the QCC514x is the flagship product of the new chip. It supports wake word activation by voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, and has dual DSPs that are fully programmable by the earbud manufacturer. If they can choose a different extension, either their own or a third-party extension, they can be loaded. Still, the new power management system means you can get up to 13 hours of playback on the headset using the 65 mAh battery.
Both chipsets will support Qualcomm’s TrueWireless mirroring technology for more reliable connections, as well as integrate dedicated hardware for hybrid active noise cancellation and support for voice assistants. Qualcomm’s TrueWireless mirroring technology links the phone with one headset and mirrors it to the other headset, which theoretically reduces the required sync data, thereby improving reliability. If the user removes the main headset, the The system can also seamlessly switch to a secondary headset, allowing the wireless headset to act more like a pair of headphones rather than 2 headsets that are individually linked to the phone.
The new Qualcomm QCC514x and Qualcomm QCC304x SoCs integrate Qualcomm’s breakthrough ANC technology and highly natural pass-through capability. The technology is designed to leak certain sounds from the outside world with extremely low latency using the microphones on the outside of the earbuds, so you can hear your surroundings in real time for a natural experience.
When it comes to active noise cancellation, Qualcomm promises support for multiple filter presets, and manufacturers can switch between these presets, such as using the wearer’s smartphone’s companion app to adjust the strength of ANC without A glitch occurs. Qualcomm says there are microphones on the outside of each earphone, and the QCC514x flagship has a latency as low as 10 microseconds, so the blending of “air leak” sounds with ambient noise should also be more natural. ANC can also be used in voice calls.
Qualcomm said the goal of the new chipset is to help provide products that can be worn in the ear all the time even when people aren’t actively listening to music. This includes not only access to assistive technology, but also the use of ANC and more. Qualcomm and earbud makers don’t necessarily expect them to be safely charged in a carrying case when not being used for music playback, which places a huge power requirement on the SoC.
Qualcomm doesn’t yet offer LE Audio’s Bluetooth 5.2 support. Qualcomm pointed out that this is mainly because the Bluetooth SIG has not finalized these profiles, and it is not expected to happen until the second half of this year at the earliest. But, beyond that, there are changes to the new chips that Qualcomm hopes will be able to support LE Audio.