Qualcomm's aptX audio technology is about to go through a major change, except instead of launching a new format or revision of a current technology, making it already available and more accessible. Qualcomms aptX Adaptive bundles aptX, aptX HD and low latency aptX together in one, which is smart enough to switch dynamically to the best option depending on what you're listening to.
A fascinating success, this is Qualcomm who looks closely at how we all use mobile devices and what kind of sound fits best for our use. The usual aptX codec makes common Bluetooth playback sound great on supported devices as compared to non-aptX Bluetooth streaming; but if you listen to high definition music (aka HD), play games or watch movies, there are better aptX codecs to use.
Instead of forcing the use of certain headphones or a particular device, aptX Adaptive will understand that you are watching a movie or playing a game and switching to low latency setting. The benefits of low latency are often only related to games, but it is also important for lip sync in movies when listening to Bluetooth. It's the same if you listen to a high-resolution file when aptX HD will kick in. Mobile devices are prompted to do many different things, and wrapping all these codes into one will make life significantly easier for many of us.
Qualcomm's new aptX Adaptive bundle utilizes metadata in associated files to determine which settings to use and that's it. It is backward compatible, does not require any configuration, and will be dynamically adjusted without any input from you. Digital Trends asked Qualcomm if the metadata are freely available or if aptX Adaptive needs special processing before it will work. Jonny McClintock, Qualcomm's director of aptX Sales and Marketing, said there might be some "handheld" in the beginning, as it's the first time Qualcomm has used metadata to run a technology, but most music files, games and movies should have everything aptX Adaptive needs already.
With its new package, Qualcomm has also addressed some problems many have experienced with Bluetooth in the past, saying that it's concentrated to make it more robust to deliver a consistent audio experience. The company is also confident in the sound quality. In independent tests conducted by Salford University experts in Manchester, United Kingdom, there was no significant difference between aptX Adaptive at 420kbit / s and original linear audio at 24bit / 96kHz recording.
Like other aptX technologies, both your source device and headphones / speakers must have aptX Adaptive in order to work, so manufacturers must choose to use it. At launch, it will support 24bit / 48kHz file resolution, with an update to 24bit / 96kHz coming in the future.
When does it come and what do you need to take advantage of aptX Adaptive? Qualcomm is ready to deliver the decoder to businesses now, for use in Bluetooth headphones and speakers, and the encoder will be available for Android 9.0 Pie in December. (As with all aptX codecs, iOS devices still do not support the new package.) It will also be part of a future Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processor.
The first products with aptX Adaptive are slated for release in the summer of 201