Broadcom has a potentially revolutionary (or that’s just evolutionary) new chip marked as BCM2074, which promises to make Bluetooth headsets better than ever before.
Here are the key features of the BCM2074:
- A significant upgrade to Broadcom’s SmartAudio technology for identifying and filtering out bothersome wind noise, while improving audio quality and clarity through integrated audio processing at the same time.
- Twice as much talk time than headsets currently on the market – BCM2074 uses 50% less power than current technologies!
- “Fast-charge” capability that powers up a headset battery 5 times faster than existing products!
- Integrated Voice Prompt function – enabling the headset to speak to users in multiple languages to inform when the battery charge is running low.
Sounds cool? There’s more – a video demonstration (link) and a full press release after the jump.
PRESS RELEASE – Broadcom Corporation, a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, today announced its fourth generation of advanced Bluetooth headset system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions delivering the best power savings platform and premium audio quality for compelling next generation headset designs. Featuring the industry’s first 65 nanometer (65nm) CMOS headset chips, this new family of Bluetooth solutions leapfrogs the competition by delivering superior audio quality, key user interface enhancements and unrivaled power performance and talk time.
Announced today is the Broadcom BCM2074x family of Bluetooth headset SoC solutions that builds upon the field proven benefits of the previous generation BCM2044 and BCM2044S devices (which are available in popular headsets). The new BCM2074x family adds powerful ‘industry-first’ features, including new wind noise reduction algorithms, multi-language ‘voice prompt’ technology and integrated fast-charging power innovations that enable headsets to charge five times faster than existing products. These advancements are delivered in an architecture that allows consumers to pay less for better quality and higher performing headsets.
“We have leveraged our leadership in the Bluetooth market to integrate superior audio quality and ease of use. This new family of chips extends our technology leadership with the industry’s lowest power consumption that is convenient to the end-user and friendly to the environment,” said Craig Ochikubo, Vice President & General Manager of Broadcom’s Wireless Personal Area Networking line of business. “This level of feature integration is optimized by the use of 65nm technology, providing more value, features and capabilities to consumers than devices using older, less efficient technologies.”
SmartAudio Improvements Reduce Annoying Wind Noise
“Consumers are sold on the concept of Bluetooth headsets, but usability and sound quality must improve in order for them to become a ubiquitous part of mobile communications,” said Emma Naudo, wireless analyst from IMS Research. “By focusing on ways to improve the consumers’ headset experience, companies like Broadcom are helping to dispel the myths about Bluetooth headsets and enable the market to reach its full potential.”
Broadcom’s SmartAudio technology, which benefits from a company-wide effort to deliver superior voice and audio quality across all its communications products, has been a key driver of the company’s growth in the Bluetooth headset market. With the new BCM2074x family, Broadcom adds enhanced noise suppression capabilities that can reduce background noise by nearly 40 percent when compared with existing noise cancellation techniques. The SmartAudio upgrades include dynamic wind noise suppression and near-end speech enhancement algorithms (such as dynamic compression and spectral shaping) that overcome the most challenging and annoying audio interferers.
Wind noise is a particularly challenging issue frequently complained about. Regular noise reduction techniques have little effect on wind noise because its characteristics are very different from babble, car and other types of noise. The signal contamination caused by wind becomes spectrally indistinguishable from speech at higher wind speeds making it difficult to filter out. The BCM2074x family combats this interference by utilizing innovative algorithmic techniques in both single and dual microphone configurations to identify and detect wind in real-time and then applies high-speed suppression to deliver a clearer, more enjoyable audio experience.
Making Bluetooth Headsets Easier to Use
Broadcom continues to drive innovation in the headset market, integrating key enhancements based on customer feedback and consumer preference data. New headsets based on the BCM2074x platform can provide more than 4 hours of talk time after a 5 minute charge versus older generation and competing technologies that can only deliver 30 minutes or less after a similar charge. In addition, this new platform enables double the talk time overall of other devices.
As new headsets increasingly add sophisticated features, existing user interfaces that lack displays and are limited to using blinking LEDs to convey status information undermine the user’s ability to take full advantage of these advancements. Headset pairing, battery life, muting and multipoint status can now be easily conveyed via an integrated voice prompt decoder, allowing users to hear multi-language voice prompts when they use their headsets both in basic and advanced modes.
While the Bluetooth SIG continues to drive improvements in the ‘pairing’ process, this task often remains a challenge for first time users. In an effort to alleviate these consumer challenges, Broadcom has also added innovations in the applications design for an improved pairing experience, both in the basic as well as advanced use cases, including multipoint, where users can access multiple phone handsets with a single headset device.
The BCM2074x family of SoC solutions is based on Broadcom’s field proven Bluetooth technology that supports Bluetooth Versions 2.0, 2.1 and 3.0. Each chip solution in the new family provides all of the major functional blocks required for a mono headset including the power management unit (PMU), a ‘fast-charge’ capable charger and audio codecs providing a highly integrated, low system cost solution with reduced power consumption and superior audio quality.
Availability and Pricing
The Broadcom BCM2074x family of Bluetooth headset SoC solutions, including the Broadcom BCM20740 SoC (single microphone), the Broadcom BCM20741 SoC (single microphone with SmartAudio) and the Broadcom BCM20742 SoC (dual microphone with SmartAudio) are all sampling to early access customers. Pricing is available upon request.