Qualcomm just announced Snapdragon Sound, a new brand that is akin to certifying interoperable audio systems that use various Qualcomm technologies.
If you are not familiar with Qualcomm’s audio work, it consists of software like the Qualcomm Aqstic CODEC or aptX wireless protocol. That software is then implemented in hardware platforms like the Snapdragon 888 processor and supported by various in-phone Bluetooth units and in-headsets chips.
Phone OEMs aren’t always obligated to using Qualcomm’s CODEC or even the integrated DAC. Headphones/earbuds makers using Qualcomm’s BT hardware have to ensure that Qualcomm’s technologies are correctly implemented for optimum interoperability with phones.
When we were in Qualcomm’s HQ in San Diego, we had the opportunity to test many of these technologies using the most expensive headphones, and they do produce amazingly high-quality sound. We did something similar with LG many years ago, and the experience was comparable.
It is a pity that most users don’t have the proper headphones equipment or high-resolution files to truly utilize the audio capabilities that already exist in today’s best phones. We suspect that Qualcomm wants to change this and raise awareness with Snapdragon Sound.
Streaming services will help to provide high-quality audio streams. It was Tidal’s original pitch, but it looks like Spotify will offer Spotify HiFi, for a price, of course. Audio quality aside, another goal is to have optimal connectivity, with fewer or no severed connections.
You can expect to hear more about Snapdragon Sound as new devices appear on the market. It will make it easy for consumers to buy compatible devices for a smooth user experience. For now, there’s no talk about current devices receiving the certification.
For OEMs, it is an extra incentive to do things the Qualcomm way to benefit from the marketing push that is to come. In the end, Snapdragon Sound is good for everyone since it maximizes the use and potential of existing technologies. You can watch the complete launch event on Qualcomm’s site.