When we reported the announcement of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless back in May, some of our readers pointed out that wires were clearly visible in the photo. This is because a lot of "wireless" Bluetooth earbuds on the market right now are kept together by a wire, and this can be done for a couple of reasons, including the lower price and the usually longer battery life of those partly wireless headphones. For instance, the OnePlus offering has eight hours of playback time from a full charge, while Apple's AirPods only offer five without the charging case.
Today, Qualcomm is looking to change things up with the newly announced flash-programmable QCC3026 System-on-Chip (SoC), a chipset designed for truly wireless Bluetooth headphones that promises to reduce power consumption by as much as 50%. The company claims - and rightfully so - that customers are increasingly interested in devices they can listen to all day without the need to recharge, which is especially true in today's world of phones that insist on removing the 3.5mm headphone jack.
But the QCC3026 isn't just about using less battery, it's also an affordable option for manufacturers right off the bat, and Qualcomm believes it's a viable option for phone makers wanting to offer Bluetooth earphones in the box alongside their phones.
In fact, OPPO, who recently announced its nearly bezel-less Find X smartphone, has already announced its O-Free Bluetooth earphones built with the new chipset, and those who buy the Lamborghini Edition of the Find X will be getting a pair for free. Those headphones, however, still only offer four hours of listening time, and the special edition of the phone costs nearly €1,700, so it's unlikely this is the kind of deal users are looking for.
The new SoC also includes support for the aptX Bluetooth audio codec, Qualcomm's cVc noise cancellation technology, and enhanced TrueWireless Stereo, protocols, and manufacturers can also build digital assistant support into devices built with this chipset.
The company expects reference designs to be available in the second half of the current year, after which point we may start seeing more - and better - offerings built with this new technology.