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3 April, 2020 - 11:51 By Tony Quested

Qualcomm raises its voice technology

Qualcomm Technologies International has launched a next generation of ultra-low-power Bluetooth Systems on a Chip to deliver what it calls “outstanding truly wireless support with innovative Qualcomm TrueWireless™ Mirroring technology.” The US technology business has major operations in Cambridge UK.

Optimised for use in true wireless earbuds and hearables, the Qualcomm® QCC514X (premium tier) and Qualcomm® QCC304X (entry/mid-tier) 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.

James Chapman, Cambridge-based vice-president and general manager, Voice, Music & Wearables for Qualcomm Technologies, said: “Customers rely on us to help them deliver premium sound with long battery life and robust truly wireless connectivity, even in congested environments. This exciting new Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring technology is designed to deliver on those vital features when using wireless earbuds and headphones.

“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 breakthrough QCC5100 and QCC30xx series SoCs, these new solutions now support the innovative Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring technology. 

With Qualcomm 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. 

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. 

The new SoCs also boast 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 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 optimised 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, there is minimal impact on battery life, allowing consumers extended battery life for enjoying sound on international flights or long periods at the office. 

The extended playtime on the device also 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 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 says it 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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