Qualcomm, the company that makes a significant number of the tiny chips that give Bluetooth devices their wireless capabilities, has just announced its latest SoCs (system-on-a-chip): The Qualcomm QCC514X and Qualcomm QCC304X. And though you will likely never run across these names or model numbers as you’re shopping for a new set of wireless headphones or true wireless earbuds, they’re about to have a profound impact on what those gadgets can do and how much they’ll cost.
Perhaps the most significant change these new chips will bring is active noise cancellation (ANC). ANC has been a popular feature in wireless headphones and has recently made its way into true wireless earbuds too. Unfortunately, it tends to be found only on the most expensive models like Apple AirPods Pro ($249) and Sony WF-1000XM3 ($199-230).
With Qualcomm’s new chips, ANC is built-in, which means that manufacturers won’t have to go to the trouble (time and money) of integrating their own proprietary ANC technologies to offer this feature. In as little as a year, we could see ANC go from being a premium feature to something that appears on
Either way, this can result in bad or zero connectivity. Qualcomm’s latest chips use the company’s TrueWireless Mirroring tech, which alleviates this problem by automatically transferring the primary wireless connection between the two earbuds, effectively eliminating the whole idea of primary and secondary.
One of the coolest innovations in the true wireless space from the past two years is Apple’s H1 wireless chip. Among other benefits, it enables hands-free access to Siri, Apple’s voice assistant. The only other company to offer a similarly hands-free option is Amazon via its Echo Buds — but that only extends to Alexa.
One weakness that has plagued even the most expensive
If Qualcomm’s claims for its new chips are accurate, we could soon see
When will we start to see new
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