Bluetooth Audio Gets Complete Overhaul with New Features and Better Performance
Updated: Added Bluetooth 5.2 info.
The Bluetooth SIG today announced Bluetooth LE Audio, a new part of the Bluetooth standard designed to replace all previous audio profiles, which will now be referred to as "Classic Audio". LE Audio uses the Bluetooth LE radio, a version of Bluetooth optimized for low power consumption. LE Audio takes advantage of the broadcast capability of Bluetooth LE, which will allow one audio source to transmit to an unlimited number of Bluetooth devices nearby. Individuals will be able to use this feature to listen to music or watch video together. The broadcast feature is also designed for buildings such as theaters, airports, museums, gyms, and convention centers. Users will be able to choose a public (or password-protected) Bluetooth LE audio stream, much the same as choosing Wi-Fi networks today, and listen to the audio channel (or language) of their choice. Because it uses the LE radio and also a new "LC3" codec, LE Audio devices should use up to 50% less power compared to Classic Audio devices. Alternately, device makers can choose to offer much better sound quality using the same amount of power as Classic Audio devices. LE Audio also supports multi-stream and stream syncing. This will provide better native support for stereo true wireless earbuds, and allow earbuds to remain connected to multiple source devices simultaneously. The LE Audio spec also includes specific features to better support Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids. LE Audio requires Bluetooth 5.2, a new version of the core Bluetooth spec that was formally adopted and published earlier today. The first LE Audio devices are expected to ship around the end of 2020.
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