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Qualcomm announces smart speaker platform

Add Qualcomm to the list of companies that wants to be part of your smart home. The world’s leading maker of smartphone chipsets has released a platform for manufacturers that want to create smart home speakers. Consumers probably won’t see a Qualcomm branded speaker for sale alongside those made by Amazon, Apple and Google; but Qualcomm’s technology could power a crop of new competitors from other companies.

The platform combines a Qualcomm processor (developers can choose the APQ8009 or the APQ8017) with a choice of connectivity options: dual-band 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi chips, Bluetooth 4.2, and Bluetooth Low Energy. In addition, Qualcomm has integrated voice user interfaces and audio technologies.

The company said advanced far-field voice technology will improve voice-based user interaction with voice assistants by integrating voice capture technology, noise suppression algorithms, and voice activation capabilities.

Qualcomm is also introducing new audio system-on-chips. The CSRA68100 is a single chip Bluetooth audio flash-programmable platform designed for premium wireless speakers and headphones, and Qualcomm said it offers four times the DSP processing power of its predecessor, along with a powerful 32-bit dedicated developer application processor.

The Qualcomm platform also includes an audio development kit to encourage developers to create new solutions based on Qualcomm’s building blocks.

“This new toolkit is intended to simplify and enhance the development experience, accelerating the design of use cases that have multiple functions running simultaneously, with simple switching between functions to create rich end-user experiences,” the company said in a press release.

The new solutions could complement Qualcomm’s Wi-Fi mesh networking platform, which also targets smart home applications. The chipmaker hopes to lead the market for smart home silicon just as it has dominated the smartphone chip market.

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