#Echo112: AirPods from Qualcomm will soon come to Android

I don't know how this happens, but Apple, despite the fact that the company is often accused of reducing the level of innovation, is still the locomotive of the market, which other players are equal to. A couple of examples.

The fact that the iPhone is technologically lagging behind Android smartphones was already talked about a couple of years after the start of sales. And in 2010, the iPhone 4 comes out with a 3.5-inch Retina screen with a resolution of 640 x 960 and a dot density of 330 ppi. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S, released the same year, had a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and 233 ppi. A Samsung representative said that increasing the resolution and dot density increases the clarity of the picture by only 3-5%, but the battery consumption increases by 30%. However, not much time passed, and Samsung also began to equip its smartphones with what is meant by "retina" screens. And today, the manufacturer is even more proud of its panels, which have gigantic resolutions of 3200 by 1440 pixels and a density of 515 ppi. Obviously, without Apple, we (Android users) would get good screens, but it would take longer. Competition spurs development.

A very recent example is the new Snapdragon 888 chipset with a more powerful Cortex-X1 core, which should help Qualcomm's chipsets stand out against Apple's Bionic chipsets. If you don’t believe that everything is because of Apple, then just remember the presentation at which Qualcomm directly said that this core should make current solutions more competitive compared to other arm designs. And here you don’t have to go far to understand who we are talking about.

Now hands have reached another trump card of Apple - wireless sound. I can directly feel how the audiophiles shuddered in disgust. But, unfortunately, that's how it is. Apple is the king of modern mainstream audio. AirPods headphones are an ordinary, from which all other manufacturers and reviewers repel. This is easy to verify, just look at two things: sales statistics and the fact that it seems that not a single review of wireless headphones is complete without a comparison with AirPods. With AirPods, Apple has managed to give its users a first-class experience with all those eye-catching animations and automatic connections.

Qualcomm's initiative is called Snapdragon Sound. And from a technical point of view, it is far superior to what Apple offers.

Firstly, Qualcomm promises high-resolution audio - 24 bits, 96 kHz. As I understand it, the Amazon Music HD service, which has catalogs of HD and Ultra HD recordings, has become the main partner in promoting the technology to the masses in this matter. The new aptX Adaptive codec promises to play music at bitrates of 280-420 Kbps.

To be honest, of course, codecs are important, but the quality of the headphones themselves, as well as the operation of the DSP, is more important. If you don't believe me, then try to pass a blind test, where several melodies are encoded in the most popular codecs. To be honest, I only caught AptX HD in half the cases of Sports, Arts & Outdoors in Nigeria. Just in case, you should not try to pass the test in Bluetooth headphones, since the sound is already compressed in the test, and Bluetooth headphones will additionally process the sound.

It's interesting that we didn't forget about those who like to listen to music through smartphone speakers. Qualcomm Aqstic (384kHz/32-bit) technology allows you to play music at maximum volume without fear of damaging your smartphone speakers.

The second highlight of Snapdragon Sound is the stability of the connection in difficult conditions. For example, in the subway, where there is a lot of interference and other Bluetooth users. As a result, interference and stuttering occur during listening.

A new logo to look out for when choosing headphones and smartphones

The third bonus is the absence of delays. Just 89ms. This bonus is aimed at those who like to play games, watch movies or hold meetings on wireless headphones. By the way, for comparison, AirPods have a delay of about 180 ms, while the Pro version has 144 ms.

Time will tell what will come out of the Qualcomm initiative. The situation here is similar to Intel, which is trying to promote its Intel Evo platform (thin and light computers of high quality), but manufacturers often find it economically unprofitable to participate in this. In the case of Snapdragon Sound, the option is likely to become a conditional exclusive for flagships. Another obstacle is the love of manufacturers to play with their own branded technologies.

But companies like Xiaomi, which works closely with Qualcomm, have already reported that they will participate. Other interesting participants include the Audio-Technica brand. As I understand it, the latter will give something like reference headphones for the new technology.