Google and Qualcomm want to make more smart headphones with the Google Assistant

google qualcomm development kit assistant on headphones dev box

Google wants to make it easier to create Google Assistant-powered earbuds and headsets, and so it has teamed up with Qualcomm to create chipsets that can help you keep the Assistant always accessible in your ear, but also make pairing with earbuds a much more simple process. It means your average $50 earbuds could have some smart tricks up its sleeves, and that you don’t need to splurge on an expensive pair of buds just to access the Google Assistant on your phone.

These Bluetooth chips — Qualcomm’s QCC5100, QCC3024 and QCC3034 — are built into a “Qualcomm Smart Headset Development Kit for the Google Assistant,” which means it makes it dead simple for companies to implement the features into their own earbuds. It even comes with a reference design from Qualcomm and Google that shows off how one of these earbuds can be built with the chips inside.

The chips support Google’s Fast Pair technology, which means all you need to do is turn an earbuds’ pairing mode on, bring it close to the phone, and you’ll immediately see a option to connect to it (if it has this chip inside it).  You don’t need to go to the Bluetooth settings menu and wait about. We’ve seen this technology in the likes of the Google Pixel Buds, but the development kit makes it easy for other manufacturers to implement the same tech in their own products without much work on their part.

Fast Pair saves a unique code shared between the phone and the headset, and ties it to your Google account, so if you swap to another device where you have logged into a Google account, it will remember your earbuds and pairing will then be a one-tap process. It’s solving the frequently confusing process of keeping Bluetooth devices connected and paired to the right devices.

But that’s not all. This blending of Google’s and Qualcomm’s technology mean the chips also enable instantaneous access to the Google Assistant on your phone from the earbuds. This means being able to access features like Interpreter Mode, where you can use Assistant to translate languages real time on the fly, as well as Find My Accessory, which will show you the last known location of your earbuds in case you left them somewhere.

Headset and headphones with support for the Google Assistant are nothing new, and manufacturers like Sony, Bose, and JBL have been releasing headphones with the Google Assistant built in since 2017. The process of creating and adding Assistant support to headphones isn’t simple, and that’s what these chips and the development kit want to address. Expect to see a rise in smarter earbuds across the price spectrum.

The development kit is available for purchase today.

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