Qualcomm's new Chip for Earbuds Works over Wi-Fi
Oct 24, 2023, 2:01 PM by Rich Brome
Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon Sound S7 and S7 Pro Gen 1 platforms, chipsets designed to power the next generation of high-end Bluetooth earbuds, headphones, and speakers. They have many significant upgrades over the existing (lower-end) S3 and S5 platforms, but chief among them is Qualcomm eXpanded Personal Area Network (XPAN) technology. XPAN lets earbuds connect to a phone or other device over a Wi-Fi network, offering significantly higher-quality sound and longer range. XPAN supports up to 192 kHz multi-channel lossless music. XPAN employs "micro-power Wi-Fi" for battery life that's on par with using a Bluetooth connection. The S7 platforms also introduce Hearing Loss Compensation. They're significantly more powerful than previous chips, with an onboard micro-NPU for AI that's 100x more powerful. They also have 6x the compute performance, a 3x more powerful DSP (digital signal processor), and 3x the memory. The new 4th-generation ANC (active noise cancellation) now helps cancel out others' voices in addition to background noise, such as in a busy office environment. Finally, the S7 platforms support Bluetooth 5.4 including LE Audio and Auracast.
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