Samsung Launches the First Smartphone With True Wireless Lossless Audio Support, But There’s a Catch

The Samsung S24 series boasts support for the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC.
The Samsung S24 series boasts support for the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC.

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The earbud market lags behind Samsung’s S24 release.

In the recent Samsung Unpacked 2024, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S24 series, set to transform wireless audio with true wireless lossless audio support. This innovative feature, driven by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 system-on-a-chip (SoC), sets a new benchmark for audio quality in the smartphone industry.

However, a critical piece of this auditory revolution is missing: compatible earbuds that can support this technology are yet to hit the market.

A Leap in Wireless Audio Technology

What the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC has to offer. (From: Qualcomm)
What the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC has to offer. (From: Qualcomm)

Central to this advancement is Qualcomm’s S7 and S7 Pro Gen 1 Sound Platforms. They offer a sixfold increase in computing power and an almost hundredfold improvement in AI capabilities, outperforming their predecessors significantly.

The standout feature of the S7 Pro platform is its pioneering Wi-Fi-based solution. Its main value proposition is to overcome the limitations of traditional Bluetooth connectivity.

Wi-Fi is better than Bluetooth for high-quality audio transmission, due to its much greater bandwidth. Wi-Fi allows for the transmission of uncompressed audio, including lossless and hi-res audio. On the other hand, Bluetooth’s limited bandwidth compresses the audio streams, degrading the audio quality.

Powered by the Qualcomm Expanded Personal Area Network (XPAN), this allows up to 192 kHz lossless music streaming. And, offers enhanced sound for gaming with spatial audio.

Users can also experience lossless audio quality at power consumption levels suitable for earbuds. So, you can have ultra-low power consumption without compromising on audio quality​​.

Beyond just quality, Qualcomm’s new platforms also extend the range of audio devices far beyond what Bluetooth alone can offer. With this, you can stay connected to your earbuds even if your phone is in another room or on a different floor.

The platforms also feature Qualcomm’s 4th Gen Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation and a fully programmable low-latency DSP.

This results in stronger ANC performance, which is more responsive and effective in diverse settings. It dynamically adapts to changes, such as fit alterations like a loose earbud, or sudden environmental noise shifts.

The Wait for Compatible Earbuds

The S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra are now available for pre-order. (From: Samsung)
The S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra are now available for pre-order. (From: Samsung)

While Samsung’s S24 series is at the forefront of delivering this enhanced audio experience, the absence of compatible earbuds is a notable gap.

This lag in headphone technology following smartphone advancements is not new. For instance, Bluetooth has released newer versions in 2023 (up to Bluetooth 5.4). However, many headphones released in 2023 were still equipped with Bluetooth 5.1.

Moreover, the introduction of the S7 and S7 Pro platforms by Qualcomm occurred just weeks after Bose released its latest QuietComfort Ultra headphones in 2023. These headphones boasted the then-latest Snapdragon Sound technology released in 2022.

This timing suggests that it might take six to ten months before we see earbuds and headphones incorporating the new S7 platforms​​.

For audio enthusiasts, the wait for these compatible earbuds means a delay in experiencing the full potential of Samsung’s S24’s audio capabilities. Plus, acquiring earbuds that support the S7 and S7 Pro platforms is likely to come with a premium price tag.

Pre-orders for the new Samsung Galaxy S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra is now available via the Samsung website. Shipping will start on January 31.

💬 Conversation: 3 comments

  1. Interesting, but expected developments. True wireless is the future of audio. It will be interesting to see how they approach the power consumption in the wifi earbuds, as it’s likely to still be higher than Bluetooth. It seems like the current gen batteries are the last piece of the puzzle that’s holding this tech back. When that last hurdle is overcome, we’ll have full fledged, audiophile grade audio systems directly in our ears.

  2. Did Samsung confirm they are supporting Qualcomm XPAN? They are notorious for excluding Qualcomm’s competitive solutions in favour of its own. For example, they’ve had the chipsets capable of aptX Lossless but have not made this available to customers. So, I have my doubts that they will provide access to XPAN. It’s possible Qualcomm gives them a discount by not enabling/licensing these. I’d love to be pleasantly surprised to discover they have finally enabled such a technology instead of promoting their own.

    My ASUS ROG Phone 8 just dispatched but even ASUS has failed to clarify if the XPAN technology will be enabled. They have enabled aptX Lossless and don’t have anything to lose by withholding XPAN. So, I am hopeful but it’s also possible that Qualcomm is trying to charge a premium to license XPAN that some may not be prepared to pay. I wait with baited breath.

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