If you own a pair of Bluetooth headphones, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve had to put up with subpar battery life. But you might not have to for much longer. At the Consumer Electronics Show on Monday, Qualcomm announced the QCC5100, a low-power Bluetooth system-on-chip that’s designed to deliver best-in-class features without compromising on power efficiency.
The QCC5100 supports data transfers up to 2Mbps and a Bluetooth 5 dual-mode radio that lets you stream audio to multiple devices at once. There’s also proprietary technologies like Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Stereo which eliminates the need for wires between left and right earbuds, Qualcomm’s high-quality aptX HD audio codec, and enhanced Qualcomm cVc and Fluence active noise cancellation (ANC) technologies.
All the more impressive is the claim that the QCC5100 is up to 65 percent more efficient at handling voice calls and music streaming compared to previous single-chip Bluetooth audio solutions. Qualcomm says it’ll deliver up to 25 percent better battery life than “the most popular true wireless headset on the market today.”
“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,” said Anthony Murray, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Voice and Music at Qualcomm. “This will open new possibilities for extended-use hearable applications including virtual assistants, augmented hearing and enhanced listening.”
One of the Bluetooth chip’s other highlights is what Qualcomm calls “quad-core processing:” a dedicated dual-core 32-bit application processor running at 80Mhz, dual 120Mhz Kalimba digital signal processors (DSP), and “next generation” developer tools. Thanks to an application stack that’s designed to run multiple programs concurrently, the QCC5100 is able to switch between music playback, incoming voice calls, and voice assistant services “smoothly” and seamlessly.
Qualcomm hasn’t skimped on sound quality. The QCC5100’s aforementioned ANC uses three different techniques, feed-forward, feed-backward, and hybrid, to eliminate the need for a discrete ANC chip. It also has a built-in 2-channel 99dBA amplifier and 192kHz 24-bit I2S and SPDIF interfaces. On the voice assistant side, the chip combines local voice recognition algorithms running over Bluetooth with cloud services on mobile applications to improve quality and reduce latency.
If all goes according to plan, expect to start seeing the QCC5100 in earbuds soon.
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