electronics and gadgets

New Qualcomm audio chip promises WiFi-aided range boost for wireless audio devices

Gelo Gonzales

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New Qualcomm audio chip promises WiFi-aided range boost for wireless audio devices

S7 AUDIO CHIPSETS

Qualcomm

The S7 Pro platform has a micro-power WiFi feature 'to extend the range of audio devices far beyond what is possible today using only Bluetooth,' says Qualcomm

MANILA, Philippines – Qualcomm on Wednesday, October 25, announced a new audio chipset that might make life easier for those who constantly move around their house, building or work area, and find their wireless Bluetooth earphones cutting off, away from their phones.

The S7 Pro Gen1 Sound platform includes what is called micro-power WiFi “to extend the range of audio devices far beyond what is possible today using only Bluetooth – allowing users to walk around a home, building or campus while listening to music or making calls.” 

How it works is that the chip allows an audio device to seamlessly switch from Bluetooth connection to a WiFi network when the user goes out of Bluetooth range. That means a user can leave a connected phone or laptop at their desk, move around an area, and maintain the audio stream on their audio device even when they go out of typical Bluetooth range. 

It’s the type of technological solution to what seems like the minor problem of bringing your phone around. But it is also one that feels like the kind of feature that users didn’t know they needed until they have tried it. 

Streaming over WiFi also promises a significant boost for audio quality, allowing a boost from 24-bit 48Khz sampling rate of Bluetooth to a crisper 24-bit 96Khz rate with WiFi, as Qualcomm vice president for wearables, Dino Bekis, told The Verge. 

A key development in the technology, as Qualcomm claims, is that the devices on S7 Pro platform consume the same amount of power whether they use a WiFi or Bluetooth connection, even as the latter promises higher quality audio. 

For the system to work, a user needs a mobile device equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, or a PC running on the new Snapdragon X Elite ARM-based chipset, which the company is pitting against top Intel processors and Apple’s M line. A user would then need to pair the said devices with wireless audio earphones or headsets running on the S7 Pro platform. 

A full product brief for S7 Pro, and the base S7 can be found here. – Rappler.com

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.