Qualcomm To Smarten, Speed Up Smart Speakers With New SoC Series & Platform

Qualcomm has now announced the QCS400 SoC series which looks to improve smart audio and home products. In addition, the company also announced a new dedicated smart home speaker platform to sped up product development at the manufacturer level.

These Qualcomm SoCs are packed with all the technologies you might need for a richer experience but one of the key differences is the integrated approach that in principle makes these more of a one-stop solution. An approach which is designed to ensure devices experience a consistently high level of performance, while also keeping power consumption to a minimum.

Another benefit of this integrated approach is the time to market. As manufacturers who adopt the chips to help improve the experience in a variety of ways, can do so without having to worry about compatibility. Resulting in a speeding up of the development process and a shortening of the time it takes for devices to arrive the market.

At the speaker level, Qualcomm is positioning the QCS400 SoC series as a one-for-all solution that can just as easily be used in a soundbar or an audio-video receiver, as it can in a portable speaker. As the SoC series will be available in multiple-tier form it could be added to small home assistant speakers -- such as Amazon’s Echo Dot and Google’s Home Mini -- or to premium home audio speakers and solutions.

Once included, the SoC will facilitate a more intuitive voice UI, while also drawing on improved Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Again, while still maintaining greater power consumption benefits compared to previous solutions.

Adding to its core audio prowess, the QCS400 SoC series also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Thereby the chips are capable of providing any speaker with the option of richer and more immersive listening experiences.

This SoC series is not just designed for the home either, as the power-saving and efficiency benefits could also make speakers running on this solution just as useful outside of the home.

For example, and in spite of the connectivity issues some might run into away from home, Qualcomm states the battery improvements mean 25 times longer duration in standby compared to previous solutions.

Likewise, with improved beamforming support, the accuracy and distance of the far-field voice recognition will also add to a better experience overall, including when used in noisier or outside environments.

As is probably to be expected with a Qualcomm smart-based product, the company’s on-device AI Engine is in use and this will further help to offer a wider and more varied number of AI features in general.

The QCS400 SoC series on its own is designed to speed up development time, however Qualcomm is looking to take this to the next level through the use of the Qualcomm Smart Audio Platform 400.

Also announced today, the new smart platform is built around the QCS400, and is more representative of a fully end-to-end solution for the smart speaker space. The end goal being not only to get more smarter speakers out to market, and at more varied price points, but also to ensure they come powered by the new QCS400 series.

The new platform, along with the new SoC series, will essentially make it easier for device makers to include the necessary smarts, while cutting costs and development time overall.

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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]