Continuing its efforts to support the development of true wireless earbuds with the features demanded by brands and bring support for the Bluetooth LE Audio standard, Qualcomm introduced the new QCC305x SoCs, expanding its already extensive range of highly integrated solutions. The QCC305x SoCs are designed to provide more flexible and cost-sensitive options for implementing rich wireless audio use cases, by bringing support for many premium audio technologies to the mid-tier Qualcomm QCC30xx series of platforms.
Additionally, the QCC305x will look to support the forthcoming Bluetooth Low Energy Audio standard, so that early-adopting OEMs can begin to develop an end-to-end implementation with smartphones and truly wireless earbuds supporting the exciting new LE Audio for Audio Sharing use case.
"We are entering a new era for the expanding truly wireless earbud category, which is diversifying at a terrific rate bringing new use-cases and feature enrichment to products in virtually all tiers," says James Chapman, vice president, and general manager, Voice, Music, and Wearables, Qualcomm Technologies International. "Not only do our QCC305x SoCs bring many of our latest-and-greatest audio features to our mid-range truly wireless earbud portfolio, they are also designed to be developer-ready for the upcoming Bluetooth LE Audio standard. We believe this combination gives our customers great flexibility to innovate at a range of price points and helps them meet the needs of today’s audio consumers, many of whom now rely on their truly wireless earbuds for all sorts of entertainment and productivity activities."
The 2020 Qualcomm State of Play Report shows that noise cancellation, making hands-free voice calls and mobile video watching or gaming are among the most popular end-use cases for truly wireless earbuds today, with usage in a range of environments outside as well as inside the home. The QCC305x offers more robust connectivity, low-power optimization, and rich feature integration necessary compared to previous offerings from Qualcomm, to support these applications, as well as providing access to a wide choice of differentiating audio technologies.
The new QCC305x SoCs add support for premium tier Qualcomm technologies, such as Qualcomm Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and wake word activated voice assistants (also available via button-press). This feature is designed to relay the audio stream and voice control capabilities to a handset to process and execute commands. The QCC305x series also supports integrated ultra-low-power digital ANC technology and Qualcomm Adaptive ANC, helping to eliminate the need for an external ANC solution. This feature can help reduce the complexity, cost and PCB space needed for adding ANC to truly wireless earbuds.
The QCC305x devices all feature Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring, a new topology that combines the best of the company's eavesdropping and relay solutions designed to deliver robustness while also supporting role-swapping and bud-to-bud Bluetooth address handover, dynamically and with virtually no interruption to the audio.
Bluetooth LE Audio is the new industry standard that will extend the capabilities of classic Bluetooth and offer up new possibilities for wireless audio use cases, with capabilities such as broadcast, multicast, and audio sharing. The new SoCs include support for audio sharing from one smartphone to multiple wireless listeners at the same time - looking to meet the forthcoming Bluetooth LE Audio standard
Other premium audio technologies available with the Qualcomm QCC305x devices include Qualcomm aptX Adaptive at up to 96kHz, for high quality listening and low latency streaming while watching videos or gaming; and Qualcomm aptX Voice and Qualcomm cVc Echo Cancellation and Noise Suppression for top voice clarity on calls.
Qualcomm is working closely with the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), helping to further the evolution of the wireless audio ecosystem. This includes innovating integrated technology platforms that support the current Bluetooth standard alongside LE Audio, which is critical for ensuring end-products are fit for purpose in the real world.
"The Bluetooth community continues to drive the technology forward to meet evolving market needs and create new opportunities," says Mark Powell, CEO of Bluetooth SIG. "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 QCC305x SoCs are designed to support superior end-to-end operability from a Qualcomm Snapdragon powered smartphone to Qualcomm-Technologies powered earbuds. To help deliver an end-to-end experience, the recently announced Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Mobile Platform, with the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 connectivity system, brings mobile-side support for Bluetooth 5.2, LE Audio, aptX audio and other features providing further interoperability benefits for sound quality, wireless audio robustness and responsiveness.
To help manufacturers compensate the lack of integration between Qualcomm's platforms and Google highly fragmented Android OS eco-system, the two companies have also announced a collaboration to enable more devices with Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile platforms to run the latest Android OS. The enhancements are intended to enable Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to upgrade their Snapdragon based devices to the latest Android OS without modifying Qualcomm Technologies' chipset-specific software and to use a common Android software branch to upgrade devices.
As part of this collaboration with Google, Qualcomm Technologies will now support four Android OS versions and four years of security updates for all Snapdragon platforms utilizing these enhancements, starting with the new Snapdragon 888 Mobile Platform.