Apple wasn’t the first company to offer truly wireless earbuds, but its AirPods have seriously taken off, and rivals want to offer compelling alternatives — at lower prices. To that end, Qualcomm today announced the QCC3026, a Bluetooth system-on-chip (SoC) that will enable developers to quickly bring competing wireless earbuds to market, and even bundle them with next-generation phones.
As a less expensive alternative to the QCC5100 chip announced in January, the QCC3026’s key selling points are pricing and battery life. Qualcomm says that the chip will be affordable enough that phone makers can bundle wireless earbuds in their boxes as they eliminate classic headphone ports. Additionally, the company claims an “up to 50 percent” reduction of power consumption compared with prior entry-level alternatives, with the potential for all-day battery life.
“Consumers are eager for earbuds they can use all day, when they are at home, in the office or out and about without constantly needing to recharge,” said Qualcomm SVP Anthony Murray. “This latest addition to our portfolio is a very robust and cost-effective true wireless solution that is optimized for both superior sound quality and pricing value, and will allow our customers to put this exciting technology in the reach of millions more buyers.”
Additionally, the QCC3026 includes support for several Qualcomm audio technologies, including enhanced TrueWireless Stereo, aptX audio over Bluetooth, and cVc noise cancellation to reduce background noise and echo feedback. The chip promises robust wireless connections, easy pairing, and support for digital assistants.
Chinese phone maker Oppo simultaneously announced today that it will be using the QCC3026 in wireless stereo earbuds that will be included with certain Find X flagship phones, and sold separately. Original design manufacturers (ODMs) will offer other manufacturers access to QCC3026 reference designs in the second half of 2018.