New Qualcomm chips will give wireless earbuds a boost when paired with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

New Qualcomm chips will give wireless earbuds a boost when paired with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

What you need to know

Qualcomm introduces its brand new Bluetooth audio platforms.Qualcomm S5 Gen 2 and S3 Gen 2 come with spatial and lossless audio streaming over Bluetooth.The platforms support Snapdragon Sound, and products incorporating them will ship next year.

At Snapdragon Summit 2022, and on Day 2, Qualcomm debuted its advanced Bluetooth audio platforms: the Qualcomm S5 Gen 2 and Qualcomm S3 Gen 2.

These are the chip maker’s most advanced audio platforms and are optimized to work with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, the flagship processor that will power the best Android devices for next year.

Both platforms are feature-rich and are said to consume little power, which is good news for battery longevity. The first significant feature is spatial audio with dynamic head-tracking support, giving listeners a more immersive experience when listening to audio or possibly when playing video games. Many music streaming services have focused on enabling spatial audio capabilities in recent years, with support already on a number of earbuds.

In addition, the new platforms bring lossless music streaming over Bluetooth, support a 48ms latency between smartphones and earbuds when connected, and promise to offer a lag-free gaming experience. 

“The next-generation Qualcomm S5 and S3 platforms have been designed to deliver the rich features that consumers want most, while also delivering ultra-low-power performance,” said James Chapman, Vice President and General Manager, Voice, Music & Wearables, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.

“I’m excited to say we are bringing support for spatial audio with dynamic head-tracking to Snapdragon Sound technologies, lossless audio for the new Bluetooth LE Audio specification, and even lower latency on our latest platforms.”

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(Image credit: Qualcomm)Qualcomm S5 and S3 Gen 2 Sound Platforms(Image credit: Qualcomm)Qualcomm S5 and S3 Gen 2 Sound Platforms(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Both platforms support Qualcomm’s Adaptive Noise Cancellation (third-gen) which aims to eliminate wind noise and other common limitations. This is paired with an adaptive Transparency mode with automatic speech detection. It promises smoother transitions while shifting between Noise Cancellation and real-world listening, a feature touted in some of the best wireless earbuds, particularly from Sony.

Both new platforms also aim to broaden Snapdragon Sound technology by optimizing for speakers, affordable earbuds, and more. That said, it seems we’ll be waiting a while before we can take advantage of these new chips, as Qualcomm expects the first devices to arrive in the second half of 2023.

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Technology