With some smartphone vendors deciding for the rest of us that we don't need a headphone jack, the time for fast progression on the wireless audio front is needed now. Wireless audio isn't anything new, of course, but it's a technology that's extremely hard to get right. A good wireless solution needs to have decent battery-life, a stable connection, and of course, good audio quality.
Again, wireless audio isn't anything new, but when Apple released its wireless AirPods earbuds (and removed the headphone jack from its iPhone at the same time), it seemed to spur every other vendor to begin taking wireless earbuds seriously. Apple has done well, based on the number of AirPods you'll see in use in public, but wireless buds from other vendors are notably rarer.
Qualcomm hopes to change that very soon. With its new QCC3026 Bluetooth audio system, the company expects many more vendors to join in on the wireless revolution. One of the biggest hurdles any company faces when it comes time to introduce a major new feature is that it doesn't have the capability to do everything itself. That's where Qualcomm comes in; it effectively offers a finished product for a company to tweak to perfectly complement its portfolio.
The QCC3026 SoC is designed to reduce power consumption by 50% vs. the previous generation. It's also designed to deliver superb audio quality, which is important, especially on earbuds that don't last all day long. Oppo becomes the first vendor to adopt the QCC3026 SoC for use with its O-Free wireless earbuds, which complement the company's new Find X flagship.
Oppo's Find X flagship smartphone
At ¥699 (~$100 USD), these O-Free earbuds are priced reasonably for a quality solution. OnePlus in recent months released a $69 pair of wireless earbuds called Bullets Wireless, also based on a Qualcomm SoC, which are allegedly good for their price, but audiophiles are going to yearn for more - such as a QCC3026 solution.
For us consumers, this is a good progression. It means we'll see more quality wireless audio solutions for our phones coming out this year, and along the way, those solutions should only continue to get better. If only they could do something about the battery-life which can be measured in the low single digits!