If you’re an audiophile or even a gamer, you probably know that wireless headphones never sound good as a wired equivalent. Bluetooth has come a long way, but it’s still unable to match the same fidelity and latency as a wired connection. Qualcomm wants to change all that with its new “Snapdragon Sound” certification for wireless audio quality on phones, headphones, and gaming headsets.
Qualcomm wants to deliver “high-resolution, wired quality audio, wirelessly,” according to James Chapman, Qualcomm’s VP of voice, music, and wearables. To do that, it will utilize Bluetooth latencies as low as 89 milliseconds (45 percent lower than its rivals, according to Qualcomm), along with active noise cancellation, support for high-resolution 24-bit 96kHz audio, and super wideband voice. Qualcomm licenses its tech out to device makers, and you’ll see “Snapdragon Sound” on headsets, earbuds, and more.
It already has a few manufacturers lined up, including Xiaomi and Audio-Technica, the latter known for its headsets and earbuds. Amazon Music released a streaming playlist in cooperation with Qualcomm to celebrate the new standard, and you can listen to it now.
The entire venture is a little vague. Still, it seems to rest on a certification program that enables audio makers to use the best wireless technologies available under one set of standards.
“Qualcomm Technologies is uniquely positioned to provide tremendous value to customers with Snapdragon Sound and help them quickly commercialize products differentiated by great sound quality,” said James Chapman, vice president and general manager, Voice, Music and Wearables, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. “Our system-level approach aggregates multiple technologies and the latest products from across our mobile and audio platform portfolios to achieve our vision of delivering high-resolution, wired quality audio, wirelessly.”
Ultimately the goal is to fix audio glitches that occur due to latency and other imperfections in wireless audio technology. Qualcomm hopes it can bring the sound of wireless audio closer to wired audio, almost to the point that you can’t tell the difference between a Bluetooth headset and a wired headset. We’ll see if that dream becomes a reality.