Qualcomm and Google Launch a Google Assistant Enabled Headphone Kit for Manufacturers
Today Qualcomm announced its partnership with Google to create a reference design and development kit for building Assistant-enabled Bluetooth headphones. Available to order today, the new audio headset reference design is based on the flagship Qualcomm QCC5100-series, and will help manufacturers create Google Assistant enabled products. The Qualcomm Smart Headset Platform is intended for manufacturers and includes key hardware and software. Support for Google Assistant is present through push-button activation and will connect to the Google Assistant mobile app for smartphones. In a press release, Qualcomm stated,
The integrated platform is designed to bring a unique combination of processing capability, connectivity options, voice assistant interfaces and premium audio technologies to help meet increasing consumer demand for comprehensively featured, highly intuitive wireless stereo headsets and earbuds.
This Sounds Familiar
If this news sounds a bit familiar, it is because last fall Qualcomm released a smart headset development kit featuring push-button activation support for the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit. This enabled manufacturers to connect Bluetooth enabled audio devices with Alexa via the Alexa mobile app. A big reason for the development of the kit is because manufacturers were experiencing a lot of difficulties integrating Alexa. At the time of the kit’s launch, a Fast Company article commented on the difficulty of integrating Alexa into devices, like the 66 Audio’s PRO Voice Headphones, where Alexa does not control the architecture, specifically mentioning Qualcomm’s headphone chip,
Part of the problem was that Qualcomm’s existing wireless headphone chips aren’t set up for voice controls. Instead, nearly all of their power consumption goes toward basic features like audio playback and Bluetooth connectivity. To accommodate Alexa, 66 Audio had to tack on external flash memory and a separate digital amplifier, which in turn required a new circuit design.
It is a smart decision for Qualcomm to make kits for both Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as make these kits for manufacturers. Providing easier access to voice assistants promotes the industry as a whole and the number of voice-enabled products.