Qualcomm is announcing a pair of new Bluetooth chips QCC514x and QCC304x SoCs designed for wireless earbuds. Both chipsets will support Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Mirroring technology for more reliable connections, along with integrated, dedicated hardware for Qualcomm’s hybrid active noise cancellation and onboard support for digital assistants.
Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Mirroring manages connections to a smartphone via a single earbud, which is then mirrored to the other earbud, which cuts down on the amount of synchronization needed (theoretically) for a more stable link. Qualcomm Bluetooth chips also designed to switch the connection smoothly over to the mirrored earbud if you take out the primary earbud. The device also helps to ensure that a pair of headphones appear as a single connection to a phone, rather than separate headphones.
The other significant innovation here is Qualcomm’s ‘hybrid ANC,’ which offers integrated noise cancelation technology allowing cheaper earbuds with active noise cancellation. While also supporting what the company defines as ‘leak-through’ for outdoor noise, in an innovation that sounds close to transparency modes on standard noise-canceling headphones. Qualcomm also claims the new chips are more power-efficient, guaranteeing longer battery life even with enabled noise-cancellation
The most significant difference between the more expensive Qualcomm Bluetooth chips QCC514x and the QCC304x SoCs entry-level has to do with voice assistant integration. In essence, the QCC514x will also provide voice assistant listening to wake-word activation, which is quite similar to Apple’s AirPods or Amazon’s Echo Buds. On the other hand, the QCC304x provides only push-button voice assistance means you’ll need to trigger the listening mode manually, instead of making it hear a “Hey, Google” or “Alexa” command.
However, by having features such as voice assistants and ANC standard for those entry-level headphones, Qualcomm may lead into an age in which all wireless earbuds provide these features, not just ultra-premium models such as Apple’s AirPods Pro or Sony’s WF1000XM3 earbuds.