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Ultra-low power Bluetooth audio SoCs from Qualcomm

Qualcomm has announced its next generation of ultra-low-power Bluetooth Systems on a Chip (SoCs), designed using its TrueWireless Mirroring technology.

The SoCs have been optimised for use in true wireless earbuds and hearables. The Qualcomm QCC514X (premium tier) and Qualcomm QCC304X (entry/mid-tier) SoCs have been designed to enable improved robustness and connectivity, increased battery life and comfort, integrated dedicated hardware for Hybrid Qualcomm Active Noise Cancellation (Hybrid ANC), Voice Assistant support and premium wireless sound and voice quality.

“Customers rely on us to help them deliver premium sound with long battery life and robust truly wireless connectivity, even in congested environments, and this TrueWireless Mirroring technology is designed to deliver on those vital features when using wireless earbuds and headphones,” said James Chapman, vice president and general manager, Voice, Music & Wearables, Qualcomm Technologies. “We have added voice assistant support at all tiers as well as integrated digital Hybrid ANC without compromising power consumption which further allows these new SoCs to deliver amazing experiences.”

With TrueWireless Mirroring, one earbud is wirelessly connected to the phone via Bluetooth while the other bud mirrors the connected bud and is engineered to deliver a rapid swap under several scenarios. For example, if the user removes the connected bud from their ear, the mirroring bud is designed to take over the connection to the phone, to avoid any interruption of streaming music or an active voice call with no action required by the user. TrueWireless Mirroring has also been engineered to manage a single Bluetooth address so only one “device” shows up when the user is pairing their earbuds to a phone.

These SoCs also use integrated Hybrid ANC technology. The dedicated ANC hardware integrated in the SoC enables super-low latency leak-through of the outside environment to allow for natural awareness of the surroundings, making ANC suitable not just for airplane use, but for applications in sports, office environments and other places throughout the user’s day.

The QCC514x and QCC304x SoCs have also been optimised to deliver improved power consumption under various use cases, with up to 13 hours’ playtime based on 65mAh battery, depending on settings and other factors.

According to Qualcomm, with ANC enabled, there is minimal impact on battery life, allowing consumers extended battery life. Additionally, the extended playtime on the device allows for the shrinking of the battery used in the charging case and a more compact design.

At the premium tier, the QCC5141 offers dedicated support for Always on Voice (wake-word) activation for multiple voice ecosystems. For entry/mid-tiers, the QCC304x family offers push-button voice activation for multiple voice ecosystems, enabling OEMs to add voice assistant capability more quickly and cost effectively.

Neil Tyler

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