Qualcomm’s new sound protocol aims to eliminate glitchy Bluetooth audio

Qualcomm has unveiled a new wireless audio protocol designed to cut the number of audio glitches and latencies experienced by users.

The firm, which is one of the world’s largest mobile chipmakers, said it should provide a “superior” audio experience when gaming and streaming music on a smartphone.

Dubbed Snapdragon Sound, the technology is designed to avoid the myriad ways that Bluetooth suffers from degraded audio by using the company’s latest processors, Bluetooth audio SoCs, and codecs like aptX Adaptive to achieve playback.

It supports high-resolution 24-bit 96kHz audio, ultra-low latency, improved pairing, and high-quality voice calls.

Qualcomm VP James Chapman said: “The human ear is highly sensitive to glitches, latencies and other challenges which commonly occur when streaming music, video conferencing, or gaming over wireless connections.

“By focusing end-to-end, we are looking to deliver innovations to solve common consumer pain-points across virtually all audio interaction points.”

Snapdragon Sound can support Bluetooth latencies as low as 89 milliseconds, which is around 45 per cent lower than “a leading competitor”.

Chinese gadget maker Xiaomi is one of the first manufacturers to bring Snapdragon Sound to its devices, although given the domination that Qualcomm enjoys over Android smartphones (nearly 50 per cent of handsets use Snapdragon processors) it can presumably push its new audio technology into many more over the coming years.

At a launch event, Qualcomm partnered with Amazon Music to launch an “HD playlist” designed to show off Snapdragon Sound’s capabilities.

Devices supporting the technology are expected to be available later this year and consumers will be able to see the Snapdragon Sound badge on supported devices such as phones, earbuds and headphones and eventually other devices like PCs and watches.

Spotify recently announced it would offer a lossless audio streaming tier for users who are willing to pay a premium.

Qualcomm has been pushing 5G technologies in recent years in a push to get consumers to upgrade their unsupported handsets.

In December, it announced a new flagship smartphone chip that will feature enhanced gaming and photography abilities and will be manufactured by Samsung’s chipmaking division.

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