Bluetooth technology has mostly remained unchanged over the years, especially when it comes to audio devices. Apart from occasional improvements in bit-rates and and introduction of AptX by Qualcomm in 2020, which improved the audio quality and reduced latency, this technology hasn’t seen any significant improvement over the years. But that changes with Bluetooth LE Audio that will make its way to wireless headphones and TWS earbuds later this year. Also Read - Hackers can steal your Tesla, smartphones using a simple Bluetooth hack
Bluetooth SIG, the organisation that develops Bluetooth and sets its standard, had first announced Bluetooth LE Audio back in 2020. At the time, the organisation had said that the standard would be available on the supporting device later that year. However, the pandemic derailed all those plans and now after nearly two years of delay, Bluetooth SIG has finally released the standard to the device makers. This means that audio devices powered by Bluetooth LE Audio should arrive in the market sometime later this year. Also Read - Best smart speakers to buy under Rs 5,000 in India: Mi Smart Speaker, Amazon Echo Dot, and more
What is Bluetooth LE Audio?
For the unversed, Bluetooth LE Audio is the next generation of Bluetooth audio. The newly introduced Bluetooth standard — LE Audio — improves wireless audio performance by adding support for hearing aids, and bringing in a new set of features under the Auracast umbrella, which would increase the scope of connectivity among devices by leaps and bounds. In its core, Auracast will enable a Bluetooth enabled device to connect with multiple devices at once as against a maximum of two devices that is available at the moment. This new standard, that is, Bluetooth LE Audio, will also pave way for more use case of audio devices. Also Read - You can now install Windows on your Steam Deck
Bluetooth SIG says that while Classic Audio operates on the Bluetooth Classic radio, LE Audio will operate on the Bluetooth Low Energy radio. “LE Audio not only supports development of the same audio products and use cases as Classic Audio, it introduces exciting new features that promise to improve their performance and enable the creation of new products and use cases,” the organisation wrote on a page explaining this technology.
How will Bluetooth LE Audio change your experience?
Now, Bluetooth LE Audio comes with several features that will drastically improve the overall user experience. Here are some of its more defining features:
Low power usage: Bluetooth LE Audio has been designed to be more power efficient. As The Verge notes it, this new codec will provide higher audio quality at same bit rate. Alternatively, it can also provide better audio quality at half the existing bit rate. A lower bit rate means less power consumption, which in turn will help in increasing the battery life of audio devices.
Bluetooth SIG says that the lower power capabilities of Bluetooth LE Audio will enable new types of audio peripherals — such as a wider range of Bluetooth enabled hearing aids, smaller, less intrusive and more comfortable hearing devices.
Auracast: Bluetooth LE Audio will also provide a whole new set of features under the Auracast umbrella. For starters, it will enable users to transmit audio from one device to unlimited devices or audio receivers such as earbuds, speakers, and hearing aids at once.
“It will let us invite others to share in our audio experience, it will enable us to fully enjoy televisions in public spaces, unmuting what was once silent and creating a more complete watching experience, and it will allow us to hear our best in various public venues and environments,” Bluetooth SIG added.
The organisation in a dedicated page for Auracast explained that users will be able to join an Auracast broadcast in a way that is similar to a Wi-Fi network. Users will also be able to scan a QR code to join an Auracast broadcast.
Simply put, Bluetooth LE Audio with make your TWS earbuds’ battery last longer and it will also enable you to join in broadcasts and connect to various devices at the same time.
As far as availability is concerned, Bluetooth SIG said that Bluetooth LE Audio powered devices are expected to come to arrive in the market in coming months. It remains to be seen, if is comes with backward compatible or if users will have to buy new devices to benefit from it.