In context: Wireless earbuds are all the rage these days as an increasing number of phonemakers have opted to ditch the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, but the technology isn't perfect yet. It does improve with every new version of a device like the Apple AirPods or Samsung's Galaxy Buds, but battery life is still one of the core limitations of these gadgets.
Qualcomm wants to help address that problem moving forward. The company yesterday announced "major breakthroughs" in the wireless earbud market, in the form of two new Bluetooth audio SoC series: QCC514x and QCC304x. SoCs in the former category will be entry-level "flash programmable" chips, and the latter will be premium tier alternatives.
Both SoC categories aim to bring several new innovations to the table, but the most notable change is a significant boost to battery life. While individual devices will obviously vary, Qualcomm's new baseline is 13 hours of continuous audio playback on a single charge of a 65mAh battery. 13 hours might not sound like much on the surface, but when you consider that even Apple's well-loved AirPods cap out at five hours of usage per charge, it becomes all the more impressive.
The next big upgrade coming with Qualcomm's new earbud SoCs is the new TrueWireless Mirroring technology, which allows users to pop one earbud out without interrupting the flow of their conversation or audio. In essence, the tech lets the buds seamlessly switch between mono and stereo output as needed. Qualcomm says this will prevent any audio dropouts, and ideally prevent the wearer from even realizing that a "swap" took place.
Qualcomm's new SoCs also bring "breakthrough" active noise cancellation (ANC) to the table. Like other ANC tech, it lets you quiet the world around you with the touch of a button -- a useful function if you're in a noisy environment, such as a crowded office, a gym, or a grocery store.
However, Qualcomm takes its ANC implementation a step further by adding in "highly natural leak-through" capabilities. In the tech giant's own words, this feature uses "microphones on the outside of the earbud to leak-through certain sounds from the outside world at a very low-latency, so you hear what's going on around you in real-time for a natural experience." Some of the sounds that could be "leaked-through" include oncoming traffic during a jog or somebody poking their head into your office cubicle to call your name.
Qualcomm hopes its partners will launch new earbuds running its latest SoCs sometime during the latter half of 2020.
Masthead credit: Mashable