Qualcomm’s Looking to Fix Wireless Audio with Snapdragon Sound

Qualcomm’s Looking to Fix Wireless Audio with Snapdragon Sound
Screenshot: Qualcomm
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As the industry continues to transition to wireless audio, Qualcomm has a plan to make the audio quality on Bluetooth headphones sound a little more like the sound you hear on wired ones.

A new standard called Snapdragon Sound is designed to greatly upgrade the audio quality you get from mobile devices connected to today’s wireless headphones. While it might seem like a lofty goal, Qualcomm’s James Chapman, vice president of voice, music, and wearables, said Snapdragon Sound was created to deliver “high-resolution, wired quality audio” without needing to sacrifice the convenience of today’s wireless devices.

Here's a list of some of the tech and software used to support Snapdragon Sound.  (Image: Qualcomm) Here's a list of some of the tech and software used to support Snapdragon Sound. (Image: Qualcomm)

Snapdragon Sound’s core tech takes advantage of the company’s latest mobile processors and combines them with Bluetooth latencies that Qualcomm claims are 45% lower than its competitors to deliver high-quality 24-bit 96kHz audio.

At launch, Xiaomi has already signed on to create at least one new mobile device featuring Snapdragon Sound, while Audio-Technica said it will also partner with Qualcomm to support Snapdragon Sound on a range of upcoming products. And in the future, Qualcomm is hoping to support a wide variety of mobile devices, which will be marked with the Snapdragon Sound badge, including phones, tablets, laptops, smartwatches, and more.

Expect to see this branding on headphones and wireless earbuds in the near future. (Image: Qualcomm) Expect to see this branding on headphones and wireless earbuds in the near future. (Image: Qualcomm)

Snapdragon Sound is about more than just music. Qualcomm claims its audio platform delivers higher-res 32kHz voice quality over Bluetooth along with lower power consumption for features like active noise cancellation and voice detection for waking digital assistants.

Finally, to make sure your wireless headphones don’t cut out randomly while you’re walking around town, Qualcomm claims Snapdragon Sound will be “virtually glitch-free,” even in extremely crowded situations like a bus terminal or train stop with lots of people and wireless devices hogging up the RF space.

In the meantime, while we wait for devices with Snapdragon Sound to become available, Qualcomm has teamed up with Amazon Music to create a high-quality lossless audio playlist for Snapdragon Sound featuring a number of well-known bands, with a selection of other audio samples available on Qualcomm’s website here.