Qualcomm's new truly wireless earbud chips could bring active noise-canceling technology to the segment as standard.
While noise-cancelling technology is popularly used in premium over-ear and on-ear headphones available throughout the world, few truly wireless earbud models -- none at a wallet-friendly price tag -- adopt the tech, as the compact form factor makes it difficult to successfully implement. On Wednesday, however, Qualcomm introduced a pair of truly wireless earbud chips, an entry to mid-range option and a premium tier option, that will bring "improved robustness and connectivity, increased battery life and comfort, integrated dedicated hardware for Hybrid Qualcomm Active Noise Cancellation, voice assistant support and premium wireless sound and voice quality."
Regardless of which chip is selected, with the Qualcomm QCC514X being the premium chip and the Qualcomm QCC304X being the entry-level chip, both will bring manufacturers -- and therefore customers -- voice assistant and active-noise cancelling technology as standard.
Additionally, both utilize the company's TrueWireless Mirroring technology, which allows one of the buds to be connected to a user's smartphone via Bluetooth and the other to mirror its pair's activity. This gives users a seamless listening experience even when one bud is removed from an ear, an action that could previously interrupt a Bluetooth connection.
The main difference between the two chips, however, is how their voice assistant is activated: the premium iteration has support for always-on voice activation whereas the lower-tier version requires that a button is pushed before speaking with the assistant.
When earbuds outfitted with these chips finally hit the market, the industry will need a new way to describe what premium truly wireless earbuds actually are since those currently on the market are defined by their ANC tech and voice assistant integration.