Qualcomm is rolling out its QCC5100 Series processor aimed at smart headsets at Google I/O to help hardware vendors build product faster and better. Smart earphones are not easy to build because they are embedding a small computer to a relatively small audio device. Additionally, they need to be able to “hear” voice commands in all kinds of weird conditions (public transport, etc.) to respond to voice commands.
There’s some hardware to do just that out there, but when Qualcomm and Google work together on a smart headset platform like the QCC5100, the industry should take notice. Qualcomm has rocked the boat in the past by providing excellent platforms for smartwatches, drones, smart cameras and more. Building on its expertise in both sound recording and reproduction from its smartphone engineering, Qualcomm has everything it needed to create a specific smart headset platform.
With a proven expertise in audio processing, both in input and output, Qualcomm can lift a massive burden from headset companies that are traditionally experts in analog audio output, rather than specifically in voice processing. Google’s contribution on the other hand is to provide an impeccable support for Google Assistant, and Fast Pair – a minimalist pairing method.
Qualcomm is making a reference design available, so other companies can use it as a technological building block and focus on design and user experience. In return, end-users should see an increase in available smart headphones options soon, and perhaps price reductions as well, but only time will tell.