Qualcomm Introduces New Low Power Bluetooth Audio SoC Series for Wireless Earbuds and Hearables

January 9 2018, 03:00
At CES 2018, Qualcomm introduced the new Qualcomm Low Power Bluetooth SoC QCC5100 series that is designed to help manufacturers develop a new generation of compact, feature-rich, wireless earbuds, hearables and headsets. The new low power, feature-rich Bluetooth solution includes support for voice assistant services, Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo, Qualcomm aptX HD audio and integrated hybrid ANC.

To help meet consumer demand for superior audio quality as well as extended battery life and playback time in wireless audio devices, the new SoC series is engineered to reduce power consumption by up to 65 percent for both voice calls and music streaming, compared to previous single-chip Bluetooth audio solutions.

The SoC architecture supports low power performance and includes a Bluetooth 5 dual-mode radio (Bluetooth 5.0 and 2 Mbps Bluetooth Low Energy support), low power audio and application subsystems. Designed to serve various "on-the-go" consumer use cases requiring robust, high quality, truly wireless listening experiences, the platform supports advanced features including Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo, Qualcomm aptX HD audio, Integrated Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and third-party voice assistant services.

Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo technology is engineered to eliminate the need for wires entirely – not only between the media source and stereo headset, but also between left and right earbuds. The QCC5100 series is designed to deliver improved low power connectivity and enhanced user experiences for truly wireless in-ear applications.

“This breakthrough single-chip solution is designed to dramatically reduce power consumption and offers enhanced processing capabilities to help our customers build new life-enhancing, feature-rich devices. This will open new possibilities for extended-use hearable applications including virtual assistants, augmented hearing and enhanced listening,” says Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager, voice & music, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. 

“Without sacrificing our superior sound quality, we can now help to pack tremendous functionality into small, wireless hearable devices. Audio designers are looking for a platform solution that brings an ideal combination of power, size and functionality and user experience – and the QCC5100 series is designed to deliver exactly that.”

Technical highlights for the new QCC5100 SoC includes the use of low power, high-performance quad-core processing, designed to offer OEMs the freedom and flexibility to innovate, with a dedicated dual-core 32-bit application processor sub-system, dual-core Qualcomm Kalimba DSP Audio subsystem, and next generation ADK software with enhanced development tools. The device family is also designed to support multiple use cases with concurrent software operation, meaning users can transition smoothly between functions including; listening to music, making calls, running biometric sensors and using voice assistant services.

The platform features integrated hybrid ANC (Feed-Forward, Feed-Backward, Hybrid) to help reduce the complexity and cost of adding ANC to earbuds, hearables and other portable audio devices by eliminating the need for a separate ANC chip. This helps manufacturers reduce the development time for premium audio experiences in much smaller form factor designs. Support for aptX and aptX HD audio technologies also helps to bring consistent, high-quality audio streaming over Bluetooth.

The QCC5100 series was also designed to help manufacturers reduce development time and cost of voice activated products by combining local voice recognition algorithms running on the Bluetooth audio SoC with leading cloud services running on mobile applications. The solution supports low power wake word detection.

Other features include embedded ROM + RAM and support for external Flash memory, 2-channel 98dBA headset class D integrated amplifier, 2-channel 99dBA line inputs (single ended), and 192kHz 24-bit I2S & SPDIF interfaces. Qualcomm delivers the solution with a flexible software platform with improved IDE support. A number of example designs based on QCC5100 series are planned to be available in the first half of 2018, which are designed to demonstrate how Qualcomm can help manufacturers overcome common and significant design challenges for ultra-small form factor headsets and hearables and commercialize their own products more quickly.

Anyone interested in additional information and to start developing audio products using the new platform, should visit https://www.qualcomm.com/products/qcc5100-series.
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