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Qualcomm's AptX Adaptive codec aims to make Bluetooth headphones not suck

Qualcomm booth at CES 2018
Qualcomm booth at CES 2018 (Image credit: Android Central)

Qualcomm's been on a mission to make Bluetooth headphones not so terrible with its AptX audio codec, and at IFA 2018, the company announced the next generation of this — AptX Adaptive.

As convenient as wireless headphones are, the Bluetooth connection they rely on isn't always the best. Sometimes your audio will cut out, certain environments cause for a lot of interference, and when stacked up against wired connections, sound quality can pale in comparison. AptX already does a good job at making wireless audio sound better, but AptX Adaptive wants to take this to the next level.

As the "adaptive" name suggests, this new version of the codec is able to adjust the way it works based on a couple key factors. For example, AptX Adaptive can sense the RF environment around you, and if it detects a lot of other wireless signals bouncing around, will compress your own transmission so that it doesn't interfere with everything else. However, if there aren't a lot of competing signals, AptX Adaptive can send a larger file size (read, better sound quality).

Along with this, AptX Adaptive can also change the way it handles audio files based on the type of content you're consuming — such as music, podcasts, movies/TV shows, etc.

AptX Adaptive will be replacing Qualcomm's older AptX and AptX HD standards and will be available for Android Pie phones and tablets this December. Headphones with the new codec should start hitting the market during the first half of 2019.

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Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • Wouldn't they sound better if Bluetooth could actually transmit more data?
  • ^ This right here.
  • I recently bought a pair of AptX low latency headphones and an AptX transmitter. The audio delay when watching video in imperceptible compared to traditional bluetooth. They are fantastic.
  • Manufacturers need to support Sonys' LDAC. It already supports adaptive but rate and has a higher bit rate limit at 950Mbps at high resolutions.
  • This.
  • Sounds good in theory, but in practice...
  • That's why I am living the Apple life (for now) at the moment. Bluetooth is just awesome with the W1 chip. Android bluetooth is garbage in comparison.