Qualcomm today announced updates to its Snapdragon Sound platform that it believes will pave the way for dramatically improved sound experiences on portable audio devices such as Bluetooth headphones and speakers.
In particular, expanded support for connectivity based on new hardware and the latest standards will bring features such as in-game backchannel audio chats, lossless audio and dynamic head tracking for spatial audio to a range of products.
Snapdragon Sound is Qualcomm’s exclusive technology for audio, whether for music, games, or voice and video calls. It relies on a combination of hardware and software to deliver the highest quality audio to connected devices.
Qualcomm Debuts Gen 2 Sound Chips for Better Mobile Music
Qualcomm introduced the Qualcomm S5 Gen 2 Sound Platform and Qualcomm S3 Gen 2 Sound Platform at the Snapdragon Summit, both of which support Snapdragon Sound technology. These two small system-on-a-chip speakers and mid-range headphones are optimized and work together with the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile processor.
One of the new features Qualcomm is targeting is dynamic spatial audio. This creates a three-dimensional virtual soundstage around the user’s head that changes as the person turns. Qualcomm says its specific goal is to improve the experience of watching movies or playing games, so that when a person adjusts their head or their position relative to the playback device, the sound follows them realistically. she does. Some audio products, including headphones like the Apple AirPods Pro 2, already include native audio.
Another major update is support for 48KHz lossless audio. Many of today’s music streaming services already support lossless formats, as do many mobile devices. The missing link is covering the last mile between phone and headphones. The new S5 and S3 Gen 2 SoCs will help bring this high-quality music to more devices. This will be made possible through the use of the new Bluetooth 5.3 LE audio specification, which offers low-latency, low-power playback at higher bit rates while maintaining signal integrity.
In addition, the platforms will integrate the third generation of Qualcomm’s adaptive active noise cancellation technology. Qualcomm says it will improve the listening experience by better adapting to the user’s specific internal fit as well as their environment. It includes several advanced features, one of which is automatic voice detection to activate Adaptive Transparency mode. The related basic tools will help headphone manufacturers fix common problems such as wind noise and other intrusive sounds.
The Qualcomm S5 and S3 Gen 2 sound platforms are already being tested with select customers, but Qualcomm doesn’t expect commercial devices to hit the market until the second half of 2023.