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Qualcomm’s new chipset will give wireless earbuds longer battery life and more smarts

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Biometric headset concept

Qualcomm’s QCC5100 is a tiny little system on a chip that you’ll probably never see, but it could make your life a little better. The chip is designed for true wireless headphones and what Qualcomm calls “hearables” — headphones with wearable-style smart features.

The best comparison to the new chip is Qualcomm’s CSR8675, which powers Google’s Pixel Buds. The QCC5100 offers more processing power for smart features and sensor support, while also saving 65 percent in terms of power consumption. It also has efficient noise-canceling hardware. Qualcomm says that headphones based on the chip could offer 25 percent better battery life than “the most popular true wireless headset on the market today” (AirPods), and Qualcomm also claims to have a better blend of power consumption for voice calls and music playback.

Hopefully this chipset will allow more manufacturers to add features like the Pixel Buds’ zero-delay voice assistant, and maybe the extra sensor support can help Google add automatic music pausing to a Pixel Buds sequel. Wouldn’t that be something!

But, most importantly, there are dual 120MHz CPU cores in the QCC5100, which is probably enough power to run Doom.

We should see new products based on the QCC5100 around the middle of this year.