Qualcomm’s new chip could reduce lag for connected audio devices

It can offer sub-20ms latency with a simultaneous back-channel for voice-chat.


Qualcomm expanded its S3 Gen 2 Sound platform today with an eye on gamers. The new chip, designed for dongles and adapters, can deliver sub-20ms latency while supplying an additional backchannel for voice chat.

The expansion to Qualcomm S3 Gen 2 Sound combines Snapdragon Sound and LE Audio for “ultra-low latency of less than 20ms for lag-free wireless audio with voice back-channel for in-game chat.” The chip-maker notes that it reduces latency even more when skipping the voice chat and delivering game audio only. Additionally, a Qualcomm representative tells Engadget that it could also work with wireless charging cases with audio-transmission features (handy for wireless listening to in-flight entertainment).

It also supports the latest version of Auracast, a broadcast standard based on Bluetooth LE Audio. Dongles and adapters using Qualcomm’s platform can cast from devices like TVs, phones, PCs and consoles to a virtually unlimited number of nearby listeners. The tech can be used for assistive listening at public events, broadcasting announcements or simply sharing your music with nearby friends.

Slide demonstrating the Qualcomm S3 Gen 2 Sound platform. It advertises

“With every generation of Snapdragon Sound, we have driven down latencies and improved audio quality, and with this latest addition to our Qualcomm S3 Gen 2 Sound portfolio, we are providing our best wireless gaming experience yet,” said Qualcomm marketing director Mike Canevaro. “We know from our annual State of Sound survey that consumers want lag-free audio for gaming, but until now this immersive wireless audio experience has been reserved for proprietary gaming solutions.”

Qualcomm hasn’t yet announced specific devices where we’ll see the extended platform, but the reveal could mean compatible accessories aren’t far behind.