Evolution You Say?
Speaker, speaker, speaker everything and everyone has a speaker in some form or some shape to play some noise from music to phone calls to the latest podcast. Bluetooth, WiFi, Smart or good old Aux or RCA you connect to your speaker(s).
In the past 10 years we’ve redefined speakers to adapt to the fast changing world we live in packing them with all the latest features. This is both a good and bad thing. A good thing is it’s a very competitive market covering the mainstream and niches. A bad thing because everyone is flooding the market with them and you’ve got 10000 different bluetooth speakers and a lot of them are junk and it gives it a bad rep. All in all this is part of the speaker evolution that has happened over the past decade. Don’t worry we’re not even close to seeing the end of it either.
Just recently announced, Qualcomm is about to make it really easy for hardware companies to start building their own speakers. It’s introducing a reference design — basically, a preset configuration of chips, microphone tech, and audio systems — that companies can buy to base their products off of.
Now this means anyone can get into the business and not just Tech giants like Google, Amazon, Apple etc. Now granted they may be leveraging Google Assistant or Alexa they can offer their own niche to customers thanks to Qualcomm.
If they want High-Audio then Qualcomm has that covered and all they need is the design and the speakers. Qualcomm’s Smart Audio Platform includes most of the core tech needed in a smart speaker. It has far-field microphone systems, with support for beamforming, echo cancellation, and wake words. It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (including aptX HD for hi-res audio streaming), as well as support for Qualcomm’s AllPlay speaker syncing system. The first systems we could see as early as 2018 and if you liked seeing the Bluetooth speaker explosion happen then you’re going to love and or hate the smart speaker explosion.
Like everything in the digital age it takes a brave few pioneers to start something and then like a gold rush everyone will follow to get their piece of the pie. Being an early adopter of the Google Home I see this as only the beginning of a bright “smart” future that we’re in for. It’s all up from here and it’s already pretty great.