Qualcomm bests the AirPods' battery life with a new chip for Bluetooth headphones

Qualcomm bests the AirPods' battery life with a new chip for Bluetooth headphones
Qualcomm just announced the QCC5100 - a chipset aimed squarely at true wireless earphones, like Apple's AirPods. In fact, Qualcomm has nonchalantly mentioned during its presentation that the Bluetooth 5.0 system-on-a-chip will deliver "25% better battery life than the most popular true wireless headset on the market today." Since that title goes to the AirPods, this is a stone thrown in Apple's garden by a chip giant which is currently in a patent feud with the team from Cupertino.

In the press release, however, the new silicon is actually claimed to offer "up to 65%" less power consumption than previous solutions, which obviously are anything else than Apple's W1 chip in the AirPods. All in all, this means that earbuds with the new gear should be able to deliver at least 6-8 hours of listening time on a charge, instead of the current 4-6 range, which is pretty svelte.

Not only does the new chippery by Qualcomm offer "low power wake word detection," but it's claimed to bring a better battery draw distribution between voice calls and music streaming, too. Inside, a 120 MHz digital signal processor (are we still talking about earbuds?) makes things like voice recognition and noise cancellation work faster in tandem with your Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant of choice. 

Earphone designs with the new QCC5100 kit should be hitting the airwaves by mid-year, so even the best of Bluetooth wireless buds unveiled at CES aren't able to take advantage just yet. Qualcomm said it has provided reference boards to manufacturers already, but which ones are on the take remains to be seen.

source: Qualcomm

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7 Comments

1. makatijules

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

When you make the best, you have the right to charge what you want. Either people will buy or you price yourself off the market. Qualcomm had the best modem, one if the best fast charging systems and they have the best SoC foe Android OEMs to buy.

6. sgodsell

Posts: 7243; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Apples W1 chip is based on Bluetooth 4.1. Qualcomm's is based on Bluetooth 5.0. As far as Qualcomm's modems are concerned. Qualcomm still has the best modems, and still holds all the patents. The iPhone's prove that. As far as their SoCs are concerned they have the fastest GPUs, as well as the fastest DSP's and ISP's compared to all other mobile SoCs.

2. dnomadic

Posts: 405; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Hopefully the giant has been awaken and this a sign of things to come... Maybe a chip that competes with Apple's.... Though the numbers don't matter much I would like to hear the numbers argument silenced.

3. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"Hopefully the giant has been awaken and this a sign of things to come..." It isn't. "Maybe a chip that competes with Apple's...." Not happening in the next five years at the earliest. Do you wanna know precisely why that is? Cost. Making chips that compete with Apple's costs money... lots of it at that. Everything from the size of the die sizes Apple use l to the cache girth and storage controllers are tailored to their specifications. QC ain't wasting money on that stuff because A) they don't have to and B) it wouldn't matter anyway. They have a monopoly over Android's flagship catalogue already... they don't HAVE to up their game. And seeing as how no matter the power of their chips won't sway iPhone buyers in any event, you'd be hard pressed to get them to waste resources on a dick measuring contest.

7. sgodsell

Posts: 7243; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

You clearly don't know what you are talking about. First of all Apples W1 chip is based on Bluetooth 4.1. Qualcomm's is based on Bluetooth 5.0. So faster throughput, and longer distances because 5.0 offers that over Bluetooth 4.x. So this chip will be better than Apples W1 chip. As far as what makes up an SoC in today's mobile smartphones. Apple goes with lots of cache compared to Qualcomm and other mobile SoCs. Cache is great if you get lots of hits, and is constantly fed. However there is trade offs to cache. The more cache, then you have to worry more about thermal properties. Plus there is the other components that share the bus including GPU, DSP, ISP, and more. Not to mention the number of memory channels, and size of of those channels. Btw the latest SD 845 supports 4k HDR 60 fps video recording. Plus it supports 2x 2400x2400 @ 120 FPS (VR). The 845 also supports Room-Scale 6DoF with simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). All of which the A11 currently does not support.

4. ijuanp03

Posts: 576; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Airpods are overrated. Not only does it look ugly, it couldn't match other true wireless earbuds in terms of batter and functionality.

5. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Qualcomm states the QCC5100 series can help reduce power consumption by up to 65 percent over previous chips, and estimates playback time could triple when compared with today’s Bluetooth devices.https://www.androidauthority.com/qualcomm-bluetooth-qcc5100-chip-823638/ Dam that is awesome Will probably switch to wireless for mobile use when products with this are release

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