French research and design lab Tempow wants to make it easier to design truly wireless, high-quality earbuds. To that end, it today unveiled a new platform — Tempow True Wireless (TTW) — that leverages the company’s patented Bluetooth technology to increase battery life while reducing audio latency.
According to Tempow, TTW doesn’t require a chained connection between a device, an earbud, and the second earbud for power, nor one earbud that piggybacks off of another paired to a sound source. Instead, it’s compatible with standard Bluetooth chipsets and works with Tempow’s eponymous Tempow Audio Profile, allowing TTW-based earbuds for streaming synchronous sound with off-the-shelf chipsets and obviating the need for data retransmission between earbuds.
Vincent Nallatamby, Tempow’s founder and CEO, claims TTW saves enough bandwidth headroom to enable the use of high-fidelity audio codecs, such as LDAC and HWA. And he says this can increase battery life by up to 50 percent.
“There’s absolutely no reason that only one company should be able to deliver an amazing wireless earbud experience,” he said. “In many ways, we are thankful that Apple took the first step in showing the world the possibilities of Bluetooth-enabled wireless earbuds, but we believe our solution can democratize the experience and help other companies push the boundaries even further.”
TTW’s debut follows on the heels of Tempow’s TAP Smart. Announced at IFA 2018 in Berlin, TAP Smart allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to add advanced wireless features to smart devices powered by Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant. One of those — Smart Surround Sound — lets users chain multiple speakers together to create 5.1 or 3.1 speaker systems. Another, mesh networking, automatically determines which device is closest to the person speaking.
Tempow has hardware deals in place with Motorola, which shipped the Moto X4 phone with its Bluetooth technology built in, and Keecker, the startup behind an eponymous voice-activated Keecker home robot. Nallatamby says additional partnerships will be announced in the coming weeks.
In July, Tempow previewed a solution for televisions and set-top boxes, which it said can bring customized EQ, multilanguage support, and more to existing devices. It’s optimized for low latency, and, like the forthcoming TAP for smart speakers, lets users connect multiple devices to create a DIY surround sound system.
“Our mission is to develop innovative software that every hardware manufacturer can leverage to bring new experiences to the end user,” Nallatamby said in an earlier statement.
Following a small angel round, Tempow earlier this year closed a $4 million funding round led by Balderton Capital, with participation from C4 Ventures. The company said it now plans to double the size of its 18-person Bluetooth engineering team — which currently has members working out of the startup’s new Seoul, Korea and Shenzhen, China offices — over the next year.