Qualcomm launches line of wireless audio chips


Qualcomm Inc on Thursday announced a new line of chips for connecting wireless speakers and headphones designed to help Android phones rival the ease-of-use of Apple Inc’s headphones.

Wireless headphones have become one of the iPhone maker’s fastest-growing segments. Many special features of Apple’s AirPods, such as ease of pairing with phones and the ability to share audio streams from a phone with other Apple users, come from special chips that Apple puts in its phones and headphones that help them communicate with one another.

Qualcomm released a line of chips designed to enable a similar level of integration between Android phones, where it has a large share of the market for processing chips, and third-party headphones from audio-focused brands such as Audio-Technica Corp.

Qualcomm said Audio-Technica and Xiaomi Corp would be initial customers for the chips, with phones and earbuds featuring them expected this summer.