We’ve been witnessing the rise of virtual assistants for a few years now, and this has slowly transitioned into a new market trend. Amazon has been doing their thing with the Echo products for a bit, but lately we’re seeing an increase in competition thanks to Google, Samsung and even Andy Rubin’s Essential. These companies are seeing the smart home speaker system as a new, growing market and now Qualcomm hopes to help OEMs create even more of them.
With the first of their announcements, Qualcomm is really zeroing in on two different features with one of them being multi-room audio streaming. AllPlay compatible speakers make it easier for these products to play synchronized music across rooms, different music through different speaker zones, and also multi-channel wireless surround sound in the same room. The next area of focus for Qualcomm with the Smart Audio Platform is with virtual assistants.
They’re able to provide advanced far-field voice technology to OEMs so their products can cut out background noise with special algorithms, cancel out echo and more. The company took things a bit further this week and announced additional audio platforms for what they’re calling the next generation of wireless speakers, headphones and hearables. This comes in the form of new SoCs specifically for audio with each one being tailored to support the demands of different markets.
The CSRA68100 is designed for Bluetooth wireless speakers and it includes a next generation Audio Development Kit (ADK6.0) so developers have a suite of Bluetooth SIG qualified applications and profiles on hand. At the event, Qualcomm also announced the WHS9420 and WHS9410 single chip USB audio SoC platforms. These are specifically designed with USB-C connected audio devices in mind as the company sees USB Type-C becoming a standard in the next generation of products.
Qualcomm hopes the WHS9420 and WHS9410 chips are able to cover all three prices ranges (entry level and mid to high-end) with the WHS9420 being able to support with up to 192kHz/24-bit audio while the WHS9410 will be their entry level product.