Samsung Galaxy S3 features a Wolfson audio chip, but not in North America

June 27, 2012
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For the last few weeks, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, starting from the unexpected North American launch delays due to “unexpected demand” to an isolated case of the device catching fire.

This time, there’s finally some good news for Galaxy S3 owners. One of the speculations that made the rounds during the absolutely crazy pre-launch phase, was that the Samsung Galaxy S3 would feature a Wolfson audio chip. The rumor was confirmed by the reputable Scottish company themselves, in a press release issued yesterday.

The WM1811 audio chip is a 24-bit, two channel DAC (digital-to-analog converter) that includes active noise reduction circuits and a four-channel equalizer. According to Wolfson’s press release (see below), the WM1811 provides crystal-clear voice quality and enriched audio playback for music, along with minimum power consumption, to ensure a much longer battery life.

We all obviously prefer and appreciate high-quality audio in our devices, especially when we’re shelling out over $800 for it. That being said, I’m no audiophile, so in my completely amateurish comparison between the sound of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X (with the much-hyped Beats Audio), I couldn’t really notice a difference with the headphones on. But there was a noticeable difference in volume and a slight difference in quality as well, when using the external speaker.

Unfortunately, it looks like North American consumers have pulled the short straw yet again, after losing out on quad-core processors due to LTE radio compatibility issues. According to Francois Simond (@supercurio), the US version of the Galaxy S3 uses a Qualcomm WCD9310 audio chip instead.

What are your thoughts? How glad are you that Samsung decided to use a Wolfson audio chip? How disappointed are you at the use of different DAC for the US variant? Does the 2GB RAM make up for this switch as well? Let us know in the comments section below.

Show Press Release

EDINBURGH, Scotland–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wolfson Microelectronics plc, a global leader in the design and development of mixed-signal semiconductors and high definition (HD) Audio solutions for the consumer electronics market, has today announced that its ultra-low power HD Audio Hub, the WM1811, has been selected by Samsung for inclusion in its highly-anticipated new smartphone, the GALAXY S III.

“We are delighted that Samsung has once again demonstrated its confidence in our Audio Hub solutions, this time by incorporating the WM1811 into its flagship GALAXY S III smartphone, the launch of which will further strengthen Samsung’s position as a world leading smartphone manufacturer.”
This announcement builds on Wolfson’s strong partnership with Samsung, having already designed Wolfson’s WM8994 Audio Hub into several of its leading-edge smartphones, including the Samsung Wave and Galaxy S.

Featuring class-leading technology, the WM1811 provides crystal-clear voice call quality and enriched audio playback for music and video while minimising power consumption, enabling manufacturers such as Samsung to create outstanding HD Audio user experiences with long battery life.

Commenting on the announcement, Wolfson’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Hickey said: “We are delighted that Samsung has once again demonstrated its confidence in our Audio Hub solutions, this time by incorporating the WM1811 into its flagship GALAXY S III smartphone, the launch of which will further strengthen Samsung’s position as a world leading smartphone manufacturer.

“Our continued success with Samsung, particularly within its range of smartphones and tablets, is testament to the unrivalled quality of our HD Audio Hubs, and the unique features in our products that allow manufacturers to create differentiated audio experiences.”

Packed with innovative technology designed for humans, the GALAXY S III is effortlessly smart and intuitively simple to make people’s everyday life easier.

About Wolfson Microelectronics

Wolfson Microelectronics is a global leader in the supply of high performance, mixed-signal semiconductor solutions to the consumer electronics market. In the home, in the office and on the move, Wolfson’s innovative technology can be found at the heart of many of the world’s leading digital consumer goods, including premier hi-fi equipment, mobile phones, tablet computers, gaming devices, MP3 players, flat panel TVs, digital still cameras and portable navigation devices.

Wolfson is committed to the design and supply of ground-breaking audio products, including its architecture-defining audio hub solutions, silicon micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) microphones, power management IC’s and noise cancellation solutions, all of which come together to allow Wolfson to deliver industry-leading HD audio to consumer electronics applications This rich portfolio allows Wolfson’s global customers to better differentiate their digital consumer products and create whole new end-user experiences.

The company’s headquarters is located in Edinburgh, UK. Wolfson’s customers are located worldwide, and so is Wolfson, with design centres, sales offices, applications teams and engineering expertise across Europe, the US, Australia and Asia.

Wolfson Microelectronics plc is listed on the London stock exchange (LSE: WLF.L).

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