Qualcomm’s new Bluetooth SoC will bring Bluetooth 5.0, Active Noise Cancellation, and aptX HD to future truly wireless earbuds.

While Qualcomm is mostly known for its smartphone chips, it also makes components for PCs and headphones. The latter category is our focus today, as Qualcomm has announced its new QCC5100 Bluetooth SoC.

This component will go into truly wireless Bluetooth headphones, and will bring features that only larger headphones have had until this point. Most importantly, the new chip will be more power efficient than current solutions, allowing you to spend more time listening to music and less time with your earbuds in their charging case.

Qualcomm is also including support for “Hybrid” Active Noise Cancellation on the SoC itself, rather than requiring a dedicated component for the ANC. There will also be dedicated support for voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant. From Qualcomm:

At CES® 2018, Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd., introduced the new Qualcomm® Low Power Bluetooth SoC QCC5100 series that is designed to help manufacturers develop a new generation of compact, feature-rich, wireless earbuds, hearables and headsets. To help meet consumer demand for superior audio quality as well as extended battery life and playback time in wireless audio devices, the breakthrough SoC series is engineered to reduce power consumption by up to 65 percent for both voice calls and music streaming, compared to previous single-chip Bluetooth audio solutions.

The SoC architecture supports low power performance and includes a Bluetooth 5 dual-mode radio, low power audio and application subsystems. Designed to serve various “on-the-go” consumer use cases requiring robust, high quality, truly wireless listening experiences, the platform supports advanced features including Qualcomm® TrueWireless™ Stereo, Qualcomm® aptX™ HD audio, Integrated Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and third-party voice assistant services.

“This breakthrough single-chip solution is designed to dramatically reduce power consumption and offers enhanced processing capabilities to help our customers build new life-enhancing, feature-rich devices. This will open new possibilities for extended-use hearable applications including virtual assistants, augmented hearing and enhanced listening,” said Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager, voice & music, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. “Without sacrificing our superior sound quality, we can now help to pack tremendous functionality into small, wireless hearable devices. Audio designers are looking for a platform solution that brings an ideal combination of power, size and functionality and user experience – and the QCC5100 series is designed to deliver exactly that.”

The exact features will depend on exactly what OEMs want to enable, so your next pair of earbuds may not have all the features this SoC will bring. Are you in the market for a new pair of earbuds this year? Let us know in the comments!

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Xiaomi is manufacturing the Oculus Go and a second standalone VR headset exclusively for China.

Hugo Barra, who now leads the VR efforts at Facebook, has announced at Qualcomm’s CES press conference that Oculus’ first standalone VR headset will be built by Xiaomi. Xiaomi is also rolling out a standalone VR headset of its own — dubbed the Mi VR Standalone — that will be launching exclusively in China later this year.

The $199 Oculus Go was first announced late last year, but details were light on the hardware powering the device. We now know that the device — as well as Xiaomi’s VR headset — feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 Mobile VR Platform.

The Oculus Go is notable because it doesn’t need to be hooked up to a phone or PC to function. The Snapdragon 821 should provide plenty of juice for the headset to run visually-demanding titles. Oculus didn’t announce availability details just yet, but with the headset making its way to the FCC recently, a launch is imminent.

Meanwhile, the Mi VR Standalone has the same core features as Oculus Go, and both headsets look similar too. Xiaomi’s headset also supports Oculus’ Mobile SDK, which allows Oculus developers the ability to port their content over to the Mi VR platform. Xiaomi has stated that it is working on bringing popular content from the Oculus store to its users in China.

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Mid-range device at a low-range price.

The 32GB Moto X4 is currently on sale at Amazon for just $279.99, a match of its lowest price ever. This device regularly sells for $330 since its release last October. It is unlocked for use on both CDMA and GSM cellular networks. The phone is available in Sterling Blue and Super Black at this sale price.

This version of the Moto X4 smartphone includes special offers and ads on its lockscreen. It features 12MP + 8MP dual rear cameras along with a 16MP front-facing camera with selfie-flash. It also features a 5.2-inch display, 3GB RAM and hands-free Amazon Alexa allowing you to play songs, listen to the news, check the weather and more by simply asking. This device is also water resistant.

It can hold up to 32GB of music, apps, documents and other files, though you can expand its storage space by adding a micro SD card to your order. Just $20 can triple the amount of space the device currently has.

Our review said the device is “a mid-range Android phone done right” and noted “for $400, it’s tough to find a better overall experience than the Moto X4 today.” Now at under $300, it’s more than worth the price.

If the price is still a bit too steep for your budget, the Moto G5 Plus is also currently on sale for only $199.99.

See at Amazon

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Fast and wireless!

If you’re in the market for a new wireless charger, you won’t want to miss this one. RAVPower is currently offering its fast charging pad for just $7.49 when you use the coupon code 9D4N5YKB during checkout at Amazon. This is a savings of 50% and makes it super affordable to have one of these in every room of your home or office. This is a fast wireless charger, but you need to buy a wall plug that supports it. You can pick up a compatible plug for just $8.49 if you don’t already have one.

  • Fast Charge & Wide Compatibility: Fast Charges up to 10W Qi-enabled and Quick Charge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8+ / S7 / S7 edge / S6 edge+ / Note8; or charges Qi-enabled, non-Quick Charge devices at a standard 5W
  • Tips for Optimal Usage: Charge full throttle by using a 15W or higher QC2.0 / QC3.0 adapter; simply equip your device with a Qi receiver if it’s not Qi-enabled out of the box. Does not charge through metal phone cases or cases thicker than 3 mm
  • Safer Devices with Added Protections: Comes with overcurrent, overheat, over-voltage, and short circuit safeguards; standing behind our products, we include an 18-month warranty
  • Discreet, Informative LED Indicator: Low-key, yet fully visible LED light turns blue or green to indicate whether it’s in standby or charging respectively

You’ll want to make sure you remove any metal cases or magnetic objects from the back of your phone before you use this (or any) wireless charger.

See at Amazon

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Well this is surprising.

NVIDIA’s stepping into the gaming display space, partnering with a bunch of companies — Acer, Asus and HP to start — to release their own version of a BFGD, or Big Format Gaming Display. These 65-inch gaming displays are aimed at hardcore PC gamers who want a huge screen, and have impressive specs like a 4K resolution, HDR, as low as 1ms latency, and a 120Hz refresh rate.

Interestingly, they also have a full-on Android TV experience built in.

The pitch is that the hardcore gamers will come to the BFGD for the best experience when they hook up their PC and play, but then when they’re done with that and want to take a break they flip over to a full NVIDIA Shield Android TV experience:

This critically-acclaimed device, that before now was only available as a separate box, runs at up to 4K, in HDR, and has a whole host of apps and features. For streaming there’s support for Amazon, HBO, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and many other key channels; for home and remote playback there’s best-in-class Plex and Kodi support; for extra gaming fun there are Android games and exclusive conversions of classic titles, such as Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3; for remote PC playing there’s GeForce NOW and GameStream; for relaxed user control there’s voice-powered Google Assistant; and for future household tech there’s SHIELD’s Smart Home technologies.

So not only do you get the benefit of having an Android TV experience, but you get the NVIDIA version of that — that means Amazon Video, GeForce Now streaming and GameStream streaming. Presumably this is rolling with the same specs as a standalone NVIDIA Shield Android TV box, which is still the industry leader. A few other TV manufacturers have gone with Android TV for their default interface, but this is interesting to see as a value-add for something that is primarily focused on having the right specs for optimal gaming performance.

Because this is a partnership deal, NVIDIA is leaving it to Acer, Asus and HP to make their own announcements about BFGD releases. So we don’t know details about availability or pricing. ASUS has announced that its version will be the ROG Swift PG65, but has no details beyond that.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |