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Qualcomm announces new Adaptive ANC for TWS earbuds

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Qualcomm has launched its new Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation(ANC) technology at the IFA 2020 in Berlin. It's designed to deliver an improved user experience for true wireless earbuds with integrated ANC.

Qualcomm says that its new Adaptive ANC will enhance user comfort and provide consistent sound quality for true wireless earbuds by adapting its performance to meet variations in how an earbud fits in a user’s ear. It can also adapt in real-time to changes in fit as the earbuds are in use, such as when you move around or do sports.

Effective ANC performance is usually dependent on creating a tight seal once the earbud is placed into the ear, which can cause discomfort and be difficult to achieve. For true wireless earbuds, this seal is essential because the ANC is going to sound pretty poor if sound is leaking into your ears by bypassing the microphones. That could be about to change.

Qualcomm Adaptive ANC Media image 5
Qualcomm's new Adaptive ANC is designed for seamless user experience. / © Qualcomm

According to data from Qualcomm's 2020 State of Play report, in-ear comfort for true wireless earbuds is a key purchase criterion for 53 percent of consumers. Qualcomm Adaptive ANC is designed to reduce the dependency on forming a tight seal so you don’t need to push or twist the earbud into your ear.

The company says that variations in the fit can also happen when you do an activity, for example, when running, walking, or even moving your head. Qualcomm Adaptive ANC is designed to dynamically adapt performance in real-time according to the tightness of fit and the level of leak-through, no matter how or where the earbuds are being used.

No complicated setup or calibration

Qualcomm says it has tried to make its new Adaptive ANC as seamless as possible from the moment you take your earbuds out of the box. There's no need to conduct a fit test, self-calibration, or to try out multiple sets of ear tips. This is going to work straight out of the box, the silicon giant says. The technology is also designed to operate across virtually all ANC modes and works concurrently as a user transitions from one mode to another.

Qualcomm Adaptive ANC Media image 4
Adaptive ANC should help improve noise-cancellation when doing sports. / © Qualcomm

For example, the technology will allow you to switch from taking a call, to listening to music, to using a digital assistant to asking a question, with no interruption to the ANC. Qualcomm Adaptive ANC supports automatic adjustment to environmental conditions, by reducing the ANC strength for quiet spaces or conversely ramping it up for noisier environments.

Which brands of headphones is this coming to?

Qualcomm Adaptive ANC is now available on its latest premium tier Bluetooth Audio SoC – the Qualcomm QCC514x. The Qualcomm QCC514x, which was announced back in March, integrates support for digital voice assistants, premium wireless audio quality, and extended battery life, among other features. Now, Qualcomm Adaptive ANC joins the party and will be available on upcoming pairs of true wireless earbuds powered by the QCC514x SoC.

Qualcomm Voice Music Customers
Some of the brands Qualcomm is working with for its audio chipsets. / © Qualcomm

Qualcomm Adaptive ANC can also be used as a Qualcomm Reference Design solution to help OEMs who want to develop their product faster, and for those who want to add further differentiation, Qualcomm says that an API is provided to customize the solution to provide a unique Qualcomm Adaptive ANC experience. The technology should also provide developers with freedom of choice of form factor, from fully occluded, semi-occluded, and non-occluded earbuds.

James Chapman, vice president and general manager, Voice, Music & Wearables, Qualcomm Technologies, International, Ltd. said: "It can sometimes be difficult for OEMs to deliver consistent ANC performance because earbuds will not always have the same fit or be placed in the ear in the same way, and both how and where a consumer uses these devices can vary greatly. We have designed our Qualcomm Adaptive ANC to help customers deliver consistent performance levels and great sound for the largest possible number of consumers."

What do you think of the new Qualcomm Adaptive ANC technology? Let us know below the line.

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David McCourt

David McCourt

David enjoys staying abreast of the latest technology and newest Android apps. Outside of the office, he can be found playing snooker and writing bad 00s indie songs.

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