Qualcomm Offers New Ultra-Low Power Bluetooth Audio SoCs for Truly Wireless ANC Development

March 26 2020, 00:20
With its previous generation of QCC SoCs for Bluetooth true wireless earbuds development, Qualcomm enabled virtually every single mobile and CE brand to finally create products able to compete with Apple's massively successful AirPods, still the market leader by a wide margin. Then Apple introduced its AirPods Pro with ANC and its market share expanded even more. Now Qualcomm launched a new generation of SoCs combining hybrid ANC and other technologies to enable brands to design new competitive TWS products.

Qualcomm Technologies International, the engineering, research and development subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, announced its next generation of ultra-low-power Bluetooth Systems on a Chip (SoCs), designed to deliver improved truly wireless support by introducing Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring technology. This new technology, Qualcomm explains, is optimized for use in true wireless earbuds and hearables, and is available with the new Qualcomm QCC514X (premium tier) and Qualcomm QCC304X (entry/mid-tier) SoC platforms that are now available for manufacturers to create new products.

Both new SoCs are 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 exciting new Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring technology is designed to deliver on those vital features when using wireless earbuds and headphones,” says James Chapman, vice president and general manager, Voice, Music & Wearables, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. “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.”

Building on the success of the existing QCC5100 and QCC30xx series SoCs, these new solutions now also support the innovative Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring technology. As Qualcomm explains, with TrueWireless Mirroring, one earbud is wirelessly connected to the phone via Bluetooth while the other bud mirrors the connected bud in a way that was 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. Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring is also engineered to manage a single Bluetooth address so only one “device” shows up when the user is pairing their earbuds to a phone. This is something that all Apple AirPods users have been enjoying, and that represented a challenge for the industry to achieve with other platforms and approaches.
Qualcomm QCC3046 SoC block diagram.
Qualcomm QCC514x block diagram.

The new SoCs also boast integrated Hybrid ANC technology in a single integrated solution. The dedicated ANC hardware integrated in the SoC enables super-low latency leak-through of the outside environment to allow for truly natural awareness of the surroundings, making ANC not just for airplane use, but applications in sports, office environments and other places throughout the user’s day. The QCC514x and QCC304x SoCs are also optimized to deliver leading power consumption under various use cases, with up to 13 hours' playtime based on 65mAh battery, depending on settings and other factors.

Now, with ANC enabled, Qualcomm adds, "there is minimal impact on battery life, allowing consumers extended battery life for enjoying sound on international flights or long periods at the office. Additionally, the extended playtime on the device allows for the shrinking of the battery used in the charging case and a more compact design that readily fits in a pocket."

At the premium tier, the QCC5141 SoC 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. By adding this support to entry/mid-tier SoCs, Qualcomm Technologies International, is helping OEMs bring voice assistant capability to lower cost segments for the first time on single chip solutions, making it possible for voice to become a more widely pervasive feature across a greater range of price points.
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