Qualcomm may have solved two of the major problems with wireless headphones with the development of a new chip. Typically wireless headphones suffer from poor battery life and interference to Bluetooth connectivity when in high traffic areas. Anthony Murray, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Qualcomm’s Voice & Music business unit says the new QCC 5100 Low Power Bluetooth System on a Chip (SoC) reduces power consumption by 65 percent. “It’s a big step forward in the hearable category,” he told online media.
The improved battery life gives headphones three times the playback times compared to previous iterations of the SoC. The new Qcc5100 chip will also reduce the number of times headphones cut out when in high traffic locations like subways or airports because of their improved ability to transmit power. The chip supports the recently announced Bluetooth 5 which is just beginning to be rolled out in high-end devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Apple iPhone X.
Chip opens doors to a range of new features
Besides tackling these two most commonly annoying problems, the chip also has double the processing capability of Qualcomm’s previous technology. This boost in power opens doors to headphone designers to integrate beefier noise canceling and hearing assistance into future models. It could open the possibilities to smart features like headphones being able to detect when train or airport announcement is being made. “We see this as becoming a general requirement,” Murray said.
Wireless headphones become the norm
Wireless earbuds or earphones began to make sense when Apple dropped its headphone jack out of its smartphones. The devices are quite amazing considering just how tiny they are and how much technology needs to fit inside the small frame. Wireless earbuds need JAM drivers, and antenna, not to mention a battery! The two main forms the wireless technology comes in is wireless headphones that site on the head or the staggeringly small earbuds that sit inside the user's ear canal.
Lots of big names are now making the clever little gadgets but some design problems still persist, namely that they just don’t stay in your ears. The Apple wireless earbuds dubbed the AirPods are notoriously dangerous for head shaking walkers as the bud basically sites in your ear without much grip. If you are an active walker then the internet seems to recommend going for the more expensive but more feature-packed Bose SoundSport Free. The SoundSport Free is also waterproof. If you are a hardcore Apple fan but know you'll be one of the many lining up at the Genius Bar with only a single AirPod to your name, then consider one of the plethora of third-party inventions designed to help your AirPods stay in your ears. From cords that connect together to silicon hooks that attach to your ears, there are plenty of options for the careless. No major manufacturers have announced they are using the new QCC5100, but there is no doubt the next generation of buds will be smaller, lighter and hopefully fit better.