Let’s make the point: Amazon Echo was the first “smart speaker” on the market, but Google Home soon followed. Apple also appears to be interested in the industry and Microsoft is working with HP and other companies to submit “home assistants” based on their software. But it may just be the beginning, since there is a new player since yesterday.
The new Qualcomm Smart Audio platform is designed to help manufacturers accelerate the development and marketing of smart and networked speakers. This flexible solution offers two options based on the SoC Qualcomm APQ8009 and APQ8017, respectively, with a range of software configurations designed to enable OEMs to produce intelligent and highly optimized speakers for different levels and product categories.
Qualcomm Smart Audio
The platform offers a unique combination of processing capabilities, connectivity options, voice user interfaces (to handle the device in every corner of the room), plus incorporating premium audio technologies (noise and echo cancellation, multi-media support -device) to meet the growing consumer demand for complete and very intuitive smart speakers. This means that it is possible, for example, to synchronize music playback on different loudspeakers in the same room to listen to the same song in “stereo mode” or in multiple rooms to listen to different songs while moving from one room to another.
Qualcomm Smart Audio is not an all-in-one platform, so in addition to the processor, customers can opt for different wireless chips and choose different software solutions, including Linux or Android. It will support both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice service (by the end of the year), as well as Google Cast for Audio. And there is support for a wide range of audio codecs, including MP3, AAC, FLAC, WAV and OggVorbis.
As it may not be, Qualcomm has also launched a new set of audio solutions: Qualcomm DDFA is the new generation of audio amplification technology designed for high resolution devices, including wireless speakers, soundbar, network audio amplifiers and headphones. The company also announced major innovations within its broad portfolio of audio system-on-chip (SoC) platforms. Each platform is designed to address new market demands: the first is designed to deliver significantly higher processing performance; The second to support the flexibility of a programmable flash memory at the price of a fixed-mode ROM, and finally, the third solution supports the development of USB-C wired audio devices to ensure superior audio quality. In addition, platforms are designed for specific applications and use cases, including high performance headphones and speakers, headphones and mid-level speakers, as well as wired USB-C headphones.
Qualcomm Smart Audio
Qualcomm is probably best known for producing its smartphone chips, but the San Diego company is expanding rapidly and effectively also in the Internet of Things. The announcement of Qualcomm Smart Audio, in fact, comes just two weeks after the presentation of the reference design and the platform for mesh networking devices.