CEVA Introduces Bluebud Wireless Audio Platform for Better Bluetooth Listening
Smart sensor technology developer CEVA has launched a new wireless audio platform called Bluebud, designed as a turnkey answer to issues with True Wireless Stereo (TWS) devices using Bluetooth. Bluebud combines hardware and software platforms to offer better audio quality and longer battery life while taking less time for a manufacturer to get a product to market than with other Bluetooth systems.
TWS splits a single source of audio, funneling it to two destinations, like a right and left earbud. But, that’s not a model that was available when Bluetooth Classic was first developed. The multiple endpoints for the audio channeled through Digital Signal Processors (DSP) make the traditional single audio connection support not work as well as might be hoped. Synchronizing left, and right earbuds, poor quality, and limited battery life are common complaints. It takes specific proprietary tech to support TWS, and, according to CEVA, there aren’t a huge number of experts around to address those needs.
Bluebud addresses the current limitations by squeezing all of the necessary hardware and software to make high-quality Bluetooth audio devices into a design that can be added to a company’s existing system-on-chip design. Bluebud uses a single-core processor instead of needing multiple cores, containing everything necessary for current and future Bluetooth varieties. It can handle music and voice calls with minimal latency can even pair with multiple devices simultaneously, switching between them depending on circumstances. For instance, listening to the audio on a TV through earbuds but automatically switching to a phone if a call comes in.
“The Bluebud platform serves to standardize DSP-enabled Bluetooth audio IP for any semiconductor or systems company, solving the complex challenges of syncing audio packets over Bluetooth,” CEVA CTO Erez Bar-Niv said. “[W]ith a drop-in IP that delivers robust, high quality Bluetooth connectivity and audio performance.”
Bluebud’s software aspect takes advantage of CEVA’s catalogue of sensory applications. The WhisPro speech recognition, ClearVox noise reduction, Motion Engine Hear detection of movement, and TinyML wake word detection are all optional inclusions for Bluebud. The software framework is set up to make it relatively easy for the companies working with CEVA to add their own software to the platform. CEVA is best known for the SensPro line of sensor hubs used to collect and process visual, audio, and other environmental data. The AI in the hub can glean context from the data to better organize what it perceives, learning to improve its processing over time, making smart ecosystems more efficient and flexible for individuals to use. That kind of flexibility is a frequent facet of CEVA’s creations. Though unrelated to Bluebud, CEVA has previously partnered with Novatek Microelectronics to bring its audio tech to Novatek’s smart TV hardware. CEVA also worked with audio software developer Bragi to set up a hearables platform, combining the CEVA-BX software with Bragi’s operating system.
Bluetooth audio devices are hugely popular, and more varieties are popping up all the time, from the Bose Sport Open earbuds for safe outdoor exercise or the Olive Pro earbuds, which are also useable as hearing aids. According to Voicebot’s own data published in October, hearables ownership rose 23% over the last two years among U.S. adults. Apple’s ownership of a third of the hearables market means that better tech and creative applications are key for competitors. That’s what CEVA believes Bluebud can provide.
“Consumer demand for TWS earbuds and other wireless audio devices has grown tremendously, with more diverse use cases and new features consistently being introduced,” said CEVA CTO Erez Bar-Niv said. “Supported by our portfolio of audio, voice, sensor fusion and AI software, Bluebud customers can develop differentiated wireless audio solutions with outstanding performance, addressing the full range of tiers from budget through to premium experience, faster than ever.”