Qualcomm aptX becomes free: how the world of headphones is changing

qualcomm aptx

If you hang out in the world of Bluetooth headphones, then you probably know acronyms like aptX e aptX HD, technologies that Qualcomm made known in the world of electronics. Since the audio trend on smartphones (and not only) has moved from cable to wireless, technology companies have progressively tried to improve the audio quality to compensate for the abandonment of wired headphones; to do this, it was necessary to create audio codecs such as Qualcomm's, i.e. software algorithms capable of compressing and decompressing the signal in search of the best compromise between transmission speed and sound quality; and now that these standards are become freely accessible, can only benefit the entire sector.

Qualcomm's aptX technology is now free, to the delight of headphone manufacturers

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There are different versions of audio codecs created by different companies, as in the case of Apple AAC, Sony LDAC and Huawei LDHC, and this means that to use them you must pay royalties to the company that patented it. In the case of Qualcomm, the license to adopt the aptX and aptX HD codecs on its devices amounted to a one-time $2014 plus about $6.000 per device in 1. But starting from the end of 2022, Qualcomm has decided to make them both open source, as evidenced by the fact that they are natively integrated within the latest Android AOSP ROMs.

This means that it will be easier for third-party developers to adopt them legally as part of modding and custom ROMs, even if some limits remain: as Qualcomm specifies, only the encoders have been made open source, i.e. the coding component (compression of the output signal), but apparently not the decoding component (reconstruction of the input signal), so we imagine you will still need to pay.

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