Qualcomm is turning into Skynet as the days pass, with the tech giant unveiling a new reference "smart audio" design that packs a microphone, speaker, and voice recognition technology that OEMs can use to build their own smart speakers.
Better yet, Qualcomm's new reference design has support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, meaning that OEMs can provide support for the respective voice assistants, into many more audio products. On the audio side of things, Qualcomm will be using its DDFA audio amplifier technology and an audio development kit (ADK) that will let companies build Bluetooth speakers, headphones, and other audio-related products.
Qualcomm Senior VP Anthony Murray said that the company's aim is to have manufacturers making smart speakers and headphones "without significantly increasing integration time or cost". Linux and Android Things will be powering the new designs, including "far field" multi-microphone tech that will see the products waking up for audio queues like "OK Google", beamforming, and echo cancellation.
We will have all of the high-performance wireless connectivity with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support, and high-end audio codecs including FLAC, MP3, OggVorbis, and Qualcomm's own AllPlay audio system that allows you to network speakers together.
Qualcomm will be pumping these new chips out sometime in Q3 2017, with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support arriving in the months after launch.