Qualcomm has now announced the latest version of its aptX technology, aptX Adaptive. Qualcomm’s aptX audio codecs in general have evolved over the years to offer a heightened listening experience. For example, following the standard aptX solution, Qualcomm introduced aptX HD back in 2016 which was designed to support improved listening experiences through higher audio support. While aptX Adaptive technically follows in the same footsteps, this one is a little more fundamentally different. It’s adaptive.
Like most new technologies at the moment, the difference with aptX Adaptive is its ability to be smarter than what has come before. So in the same way that a smart product can understand and learn, so can aptX Adaptive. As this solution is not necessarily designed to offer an improved listening experience just by increasing quality support, but instead looks to offer more of a curated listening experience depending on the type of content that is being played at the time. This ability to adapt to specific content is not just based on audio quality either, but also other factors that could potential impact on the listening experience, such as latency. Therefore, aptX Adaptive will essentially evaluate the content being played (games, music, movies, etc), and tweak the experience to provide the best output possible based on the incoming information. That’s the theory anyway.
Qualcomm argues the experience offered through aptX Adaptive brings the wireless listening experience closer to the wired experience than ever before. What’s more, due to its dynamic nature, aptX Adaptive by definition should always offer a heightened experience as the listener is not required to make any manual adjustments when changing from one audio source to another. So unlike other solutions were a heightened experience can be achieved through manual interaction, aptX Adaptive will do all the heavy-lifting for the listener and presumably, instantaneously. This also includes elements where the end user might be less inclined or aware that manual adjustments could improve audio quality, such as when making and receiving phone calls.
In terms of availability, Qualcomm states the aptX Adaptive decoder will be available to customers from September 2018 through its inclusion on the company’s CSRA68100 and QCC5100 series Bluetooth Audio SoCs. This will primary be of benefit to the headphone and speaker side of the equation. In contrast, the device level of support will be available in December, 2018 at the Android 9 Pie level. Android Pie itself is considered an ‘adaptive’ version of Android due to the system’s ability to learn and self-regulate many of the core settings. Therefore, the inclusion of aptX Adaptive on Android Pie will further add to Pie's smart experience overall.