Receive path noise cancellation in mobiles by 2009

Edinburgh-based Wolfson Microelectronics has released samples of its noise cancellation chip to manufacturers of mobile phones and expects the technology to be available to consumers in 2009.

The chip, which the company has been mooting for several months, allows greater call intelligibility in noisy environments with noise cancellation technology in both the transmit and receive path.

Until now, mobile phones have been able to reduce noise in the transmit path only, so that ambient noise is not transmitted to the other party in the call.

Reducing background noise levels near the listener’s ear has, to date, eluded chip manufacturers.

Wolfson claims to have solved the problem by using ‘active anti-noise’ to cancel background sound at the handset speaker.

Typically, noise-canceling products, such as headphones, rely on passive noise-canceling, such as over-the-ear headphones which is undesirable with mobile handsets. Details of how it works are sketchy, but Wolfson refers to it as 'feed forward' technology rather than the conventional ‘feedback’ noise canceling.

“We are working with a number of manufacturers now and believe handsets containing this advanced technology will be on sale internationally during 2009,” said David Monteith, VP of business development at Wolfson.

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