Android wireless headphones to get Apple AirPods-style smarts

Seamless pairing setup, sharing audio with other nearby users and HD wireless audio are all on the cards.

By David Flynn, March 9 2021
Android wireless headphones to get Apple AirPods-style smarts

The next generation of Android smartphones could enjoy the same ease of use as Apple's headphones, and extend this to wireless Bluetooth speakers.

Chipmaker Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon processors will be complemented by new Snapdragon Sound technology, with Xiaomi and Audio-Technica already signed up as customers for a mid-year launch.

Apple's AirPods and AirPods Pro series boast elegant and seamless automatic pairing and can also share audio streams from an iPhone with other nearby Apple users, owing to Apple's custom W1 and H1 chips, which also maintain low-latency audio and boost battery life.

(Apple is rumoured to be readying new 'third-generation' AirPods, along with its long-anticipated AirTags tracking tiles and a 2021 iPad Pro update, for a late March debut.)

"The challenge in the Android ecosystem is that it's not as closed or vertically integrated as the iOS ecosystem, it's very fragmented,” said Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm’s connectivity chip unit.

"We want to enable (audio companies) to work seamlessly with Android products."

Snapdragon Sound is designed to deliver a similar level of integration between Android phones and third-party audio kit, although Qualcomm says the core features could also extend to other devices such as smartwatches and even some (presumably ARM-based) Windows laptops in the future.

But Snapdragon Sound – which will work Qualcomm's mobile and headphone chips and audio codecs, is also about "delivering high-resolution wired quality audio, wirelessly".

This will become increasingly important as music services like Spotify roll out HD audio streams.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

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Sounds interesting.. although I’m sure it will be a pale comparison to the apple experience 


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