With Qualcomm’s new platform, firms can make their own Google Home

Amazon Echo best amazon deals
Smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo, Google’s eponymous Google Home, and Apple’s HomePod may seem like a dime a dozen, these days, but Qualcomm wants to make it easier for smaller companies to build their own. To that end, the San Diego, California-based chip maker took the wraps off a reference “smart audio” design on Tuesday, June 13 — a combination microphone, speaker, and voice-recognition sensor that third parties can use to build their own speakers from scratch.

Qualcomm’s new Smart Audio Platform, which runs on the open source Linux operating system and Google’s Android Things IoT (Internet of Things) platform, comprises far-field microphone technology that can detect “wake” phrases like, “OK Google,” at a distance. Beamforming, a type of electronic signal processing that uses multiple microphones to pick up a user’s voice, is in tow, as is echo cancellation, Bluetooth aptX HD audio, and Wi-Fi.

The Smart Audio Platform is packed to the brim with high-end audio tech, too, including robust support for codecs like MP3, OggVorbis (Hi-Res 32-bit/192kHz), lossless FLAC/ALAC, and the latest implementation of Qualcomm’s multi-room AllPlay audio system, which lets you control multiple wireless speakers on the same network. There is also support for voice-activated AI assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

google home mini max release date price features news

Generally speaking, Qualcomm’s Smart Audio platform aims to make it easier for smaller companies to create their own voice-enabled, high-quality speakers. But it has a disadvantage: Platform support. So far, only a handful of speakers from Hitachi, Panasonic, and Monster support the AllPlay standard, which is fewer than the growing number that support Google’s Cast Audio and a mere fraction of speakers with Apple’s AirPlay built in.

But Qualcomm says broader adoption is around the corner. The new chips at the heart of the Smart Audio Platform, the APQ8009 and APQ8017, will begin to ship in the third quarter of this year.

“The Qualcomm Smart Audio Platform combines high-performance processing power, world-class Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, advanced far-field voice capture and wake-word detection, AllPlay multi-room audio-streaming technology, and support for major voice ecosystems in a single solution” Anthony Murray, Qualcomm’s senior vice president and general manager of voice and music, said in a statement. “This platform is ideal for traditional speaker manufacturers wanting to make the move to a connected platform as it is designed to bring together all the necessary hardware, software, and tools needed to reduce development time. It also offers a great degree of flexibility for those manufacturers who want to push the boundaries when it comes to possible future applications for smart speakers.”

Product Review

With sapphire glass and analog dials, you'd never know this watch is smart

The world of hybrid smartwatches is getting much larger, and the latest comes from a name with history — New York Standard Watches. In our NYSW GTS Activity Tracker review, we find out what makes this watch special, and why we were so…
Home Theater

Rock out, dance, or just nod along with the best Bluetooth speakers

The market is saturated with wireless audio solutions fit for any and all circumstances. Check out our picks for the best Bluetooth speakers available, whether you'll be listening in the kitchen or on a mountaintop.
Home Theater

Fluance’s four beautiful new turntables arrive with easy-to-stomach prices

Acclaimed audio brand Fluance launched four new turntables as part of its new Reference series, aiming to offer elegant looks and pristine sound to those who are just getting into the world of high-end analog audio.
Home Theater

From soundbars to headphones, here are the best last-minute audio deals

Whether you're looking for a great new pair of headphones or a fantastic new soundbar to bolster the sound of your brand-new television, these are the best audio deals to be found this holiday season.
Home Theater

These top-line smart speakers conduct the most sophisticated symphony: Your life

Stuck talking to yourself? Get an A.I. assistant to keep you company! Whether you put your stock in Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, we've picked out the best smart speaker for any smart home ecosystem.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Which smartphone manufacturers won and lost in 2018

As the curtain comes down on 2018, we take a look at the big successes and failures in the smartphone market over the last 12 months. Which phone maker had the best year, and who had a year to forget?
Mobile

Scientists have charged a phone and a Fitbit with solar-powered clothes

Scientists from Britain's Nottingham Trent University have discovered a way to incorporate solar panels into clothing, and they've even managed to charge a phone and Fitbit with the energy created.
Mobile

The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT packs the most RAM ever seen in a smartphone

The next generation of smartphones has begun, and it's begun with a bang. The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT comes with the next generation Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.
Mobile

The best iPhone XS Max screen protectors to safeguard that huge display

If you love big screens, then the iPhone XS Max's huge 6.5-inch display is perfect for you. But it won't fare well against concrete. Protect your display with the best iPhone XS Max screen protectors.
Mobile

Fitbit supercharges its smartwatches with its new 3.0 operating system

Fitbit announced a new software update for the Versa and Ionic, called Fitbit OS 3.0. The new OS will allow for things like on-device daily views, as well as 10 new third-party apps on the watch.
Mobile

Google’s Gboard communication app reaches 500 languages in only 2 years

In December 2016, Google launched Gboard with support for an already-impressive 100 languages. Since then, however, Google has added a hefty 400 languages to the software keyboard, bringing the total number to 500.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Mobile

Walmart’s $100 2018 iPad discount is one of the best we’ve seen yet

The 2018 iPad is one of the best tablets we've ever seen and the tablet we recommend to the vast majority of users. Now, Walmart is offering one of the best deals so far on the device: $100 off the 32GB space gray version.