Qualcomm enhances its wireless audio tech for next-gen buds and 'hearables'

A pair of wireless earbuds

Qualcomm has lifted the lid on a number of enhancements its made to its TrueWireless Stereo technology, which was first announced in 2017 to meet growing demand for headsets and hearables with a smaller, true wireless form factor.

The latest update has been created to provide users with an improved listening experience across all smartphone platforms, as well as a more streamlined pairing experience that does away with the need to pair individual buds separately. It also allows longer playback time, as users can easily role switch each earbud between primary and secondary functions.

An added mode of the latest update, called TrueWireless Stereo Plus, enables a user's smartphone to simultaneously connect to both earbuds and then choose the relevant audio content to relay to each. This not only improves the listening experience, but also more evenly distributes power consumption too. 

'Truly wireless hearable devices'

The new Qualcomm TrueWireless tech is supported on the company's latest Bluetooth audio System-on-Chip (SoC), called the QCC5100. By combining the TrueWireless Stereo Plus tech, the SoC chip and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, Qualcomm promises power consumption can be reduced by 10 percent, delivering around an extra hour of listening time.

Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager, voice and music at Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. said: “We are constantly looking to improve our technologies and platforms to help our customers differentiate their product offerings, and these enhancements in Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo technology are designed to help them create the next generation of exciting and innovative truly wireless hearable devices that can support substantially longer music play time and voice call time.”

Qualcomm has revealed that earbud and headset designs based on the QCC5100 chip using the new, enhanced Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo tech are expected to be available in the second half of 2018. They are also likely to be on display at Mobile World Congress 2018 (MWC) in February 2018, so we'll keep you updated about what we see from Qualcomm there. 

Becca Caddy

Becca is a contributor to TechRadar, a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than ten years, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality.