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Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon Sound for better wireless audio

Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound-branded devices will offer optimized audio for streaming music, making calls, and playing games.

Published onMarch 4, 2021

Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound logo

Qualcomm has unveiled a new initiative for audio lovers. Qualcomm is bundling a huge range of its mobile hardware and software technologies under a new moniker: Snapdragon Sound. Qualcomm says this will provide an optimized chain of high-end audio technologies and software for smartphones and other wireless audio products.

As I’m sure you already know, one weak link in the audio chain can ruin your listening experience. For example, poor quality speakers can decimate the sound of your otherwise flawless lossless audio collection. There are potentially many more weak links in modern wireless audio systems, ranging from the quality of Bluetooth codecs, latency, the data speed you receiving from your streaming service, to the battery life and wireless signal strength on your earbuds. The goal for Snapdragon Sound is to take the guesswork out of picking out an issue-free product for high-quality audio.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound slide

For us consumers, Qualcomm will be issuing optimized devices with Snapdragon Sound branding. To obtain this, devices will need to undergo a range of interoperability tests at a dedicated facility in Taiwan. These tests cover audio connectivity and robustness, latency, and quality. The branding can be applied to headphones, earbuds, smartphones, smartwatches, PCs, and essentially any audio product that can be powered by Qualcomm’s technologies.

The key components of Snapdragon Sound span a range of Qualcomm’s hardware and software, including Bluetooth codecs and chips, Active Noise Cancelling, and super wideband voice. More specifically, these technologies are featured in the Snapdragon 8-series mobile platforms, FastConnect 6900 wireless platform, Qualcomm’s ANC technology, aptX Voice, aptX Adaptive with 24-bit 96kHz Bluetooth playback and 89ms latency, and Qualcomm’s Aqstic Hi-Fi DAC for up to 32-bit 384kHz playback. On the audio product side, Qualcomm’s QCC514x, QCC515x, and QCC3056-series chipsets contain the prerequisite technologies.

See also: The best noise-canceling true wireless earbuds

Snapdragon Sound-branded devices will pack in all the best of Qualcomm’s end-to-end audio technologies. To coincide with the launch, Amazon Music and Qualcomm have curated a playlist called The Snapdragon Sound, designed to showcase the capabilities and benefits of Ultra HD music.

Xiaomi is the first mobile manufacturer to offer a Snapdragon Sound-branded smartphone. Headphone manufacturer Audio-Technica also has a Snapdragon Sound-branded product in the works. Snapdragon Sound devices are expected to be available later this year, so keep an eye out for further ecosystem announcements in the coming months.

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