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The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced the completion of the Bluetooth LE Audio development, which will increase energy efficiency, improve sound and add the ability to connect several devices to a single device.
The Bluetooth SIG unveiled Bluetooth LE Audio in early 2020 and anticipated that the first devices to support the feature would be released later that year. However, due to problems caused by the pandemic, the release of the update was delayed.
However, now that the specification is complete, manufacturers can start adding support for the standard to their devices. This means that the first compatible products should be available before the end of the year.
Bluetooth LE Audio includes the new LC3 codec, which is designed as a more efficient way of transmitting sound. This means either much better sound quality at the same bitrate as the current basic SBC codec, or even slightly better sound quality at less than half the bitrate, which increases battery life.
Another innovation will be the Auracast feature. It allows two pairs of headphones to be connected to a single device, or multiple headphones to a single television set in a public place. Users will be able to search for audio sources, as they do on a Wi-Fi network, or connect by scanning a QR code or touching an NFC-enabled surface.
In addition, Bluetooth LE Audio allows each individual headphone to maintain a separate connection to the source device, which should have a positive impact on sound quality.
The Bluetooth SIG notes that some existing devices could be upgraded to support Bluetooth LE Audio. Early support for the standard is already available in the beta version of Android 13.
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