Qualcomm announced the release of a pair of chips, the S7 and the S7 Pro that companies can use in their earbuds, headphones, and speakers to benefit from Wi-Fi in addition to Bluetooth. The semiconductor company announced that it will leverage its Snapdragon Sound platform to bring Wi-Fi to audio peripherals.
This translates to consumers not having to worry about Bluetooth range and being able to walk away from their devices and still enjoy their music. According to Qualcomm, they’ll also be able to experience lossless music playback (more on that a bit).
The new chips will feature enhanced computing power, memory, and AI capabilities. One of the features the company zoomed in on is the ANC on these chips. As per their claim, the ANC will be considerably more powerful, intelligent, and adaptive. For instance, if you’re riding a bike and a truck passes by, it will automatically raise the transparency level as a safety measure to help you stay aware of your surroundings.
Bringing truly lossless audio to your buds at the same power consumption as lossy audio is where this new development really shines. The S7 Pro uses what the company calls its Expanded Personal Area Network (XPAN) technology to achieve this.
Dino Bekis, vice president and general manager of wearables and mixed-signal solutions, told the Verge that the new chips can “deliver 24-bit 48kHz audio over Bluetooth using AptX Adaptive as part of Snapdragon Sound.”
Bekis explained that “we can’t do lossless at 24-bit 96kHz because the bit rate just can’t be supported by Bluetooth. But now that we’ve got the power consumption part down and we can put Wi-Fi into an earbud, we can deliver 96kHz lossless audio to the earbuds over Wi-Fi.”
Since Qualcomm is powering the chips, you’d need to be on a device that is powered by the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which comes out early next year. This also means that none of this applies to Apple devices since they don’t use Snapdragon Sound.
Some companies using Snapdragon Sound currently are Audio-Technica, Bose, Edifier, Fiio, Jabra, LG, Master & Dynamic, and Shure. So, you can expect the new chips to be rolled out to the devices these brands will release soon.