Qualcomm shows off a chip for the next generation of Bluetooth earbuds


Between ARM-powered PCs, standalone VR headsets and the abundance of smart assistants, Qualcomm’s got its fingerprints everywhere at this CES. At a press conference today, the company debuted a number of new chips.

One of the more interesting of the bunch is the Low Power Bluetooth SoC QCC5100 — a chip designed specifically for wireless earbuds. The company’s claiming some pretty solid power savings here — up to 65 percent over previous solutions when making calls or streaming music, according to its press materials. That’s certainly one of the biggest concerns with products in the category.

The other big push here is toward voice assistants. Google already offers its own take on the category, integrating Assistant into its Pixel Buds. There also are a handful of third-party products offering both Assistant and Alexa integration, including the Bragi Dash.

The category is poised to become the next battlefield for these assistants, beyond the smart speaker, handset and desktop. Certainly it makes sense to bring that functionality closer to your mouth, so you’re forced to constantly hold your phone to your face while asking for help.

The chip also supports a variety of different audio platforms, including TrueWireless Stereo, HD audio and Integrated Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation. The first reference designs for the platform will start arriving in the first half of this year.

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