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February 25, 2013

Today's Top MWC Gadget News

The mobile world continues to expand with never-ending innovation and new applications of connected technology, especially this week in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress – the world’s premier mobile event. There has already been a ton of new gadget developments in the mobile space coming out of MWC, so let’s take a look at some of the highlights from today.

DTS, Inc., a provider of high-definition audio technologies, and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc. are collaborating with the integration of DTS Headphone:X onto Qualcomm Technologies’ latest Snapdragon processors, starting with the Snapdragon 800 series.  Launching in 2013, DTS Headphone:X will enable Snapdragon-powered mobile devices to deliver 7.1 surround sound over headphones, an experience never before available to consumers.

“Combining DTS Headphone:X, DTS’ most innovative technology onto Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors will allow us to be the first to deliver a level of performance that’s unmatched by any other application processor provider in the industry,” said Raj Talluri, senior vice president of product management at Qualcomm Technologies, in a statement.

With DTS Headphone:X, DTS provides an immersive re-creation of the surround sound experience using any brand of headphones. The technology externalizes sound, so instead of the listener hearing it inside their heads, as is typical for traditional headphone listening, they perceive it as coming from quality loudspeakers located around them. DTS Headphone:X will be available on Snapdragon 800 processors in the second half of 2013.

Additionally at MWC this week, CSR plc unveiled that Mad Catz Interactive has signed an agreement to use the CSR aptX Low Latency audio codec, expected to feature in a new family of “GameSmart” headsets to be introduced in the near future. The headsets are expected to break the barrier between the wireless audio and gaming worlds, enabling consumers to use one headset that works equally well whether using tablets, smartphones, laptops or other Bluetooth-equipped devices to play action games, listen to music or watch videos.

“This breakthrough CSR aptX technology is enabling us to create a new category of high-performance GameSmart wireless headsets that we know will deliver audiophile sound for games and audio alike,” said Darren Richardson, Mad Catz CEO and president.

High-quality Bluetooth audio has an inherent latency of more than 150 ms. While this can be compensated for to ensure that the lips match the speech when watching a movie, where this delay is constant, other sound effects in gaming environments make this kind of compensation unfeasible. For action-synchronized sound when gaming, this delay must be less than the 40 ms recommended for audio-video (AV) applications. CSR aptX Low Latency for Bluetooth reduces the latency to just 32 ms, which is well under this limit.

Jonny McClintock, director of aptX Sales and Marketing at CSR, explained, “With more people using their smartphones and tablets to play games, in addition to other more traditional audiovisual entertainment, many of them will be turning to high-performance wireless headsets, like those Mad Catz will be introducing, that can work equally well for high-fidelity stereo audio and gaming applications.”

In other MWC gadget news, CSR plc also introduced the BlueCore CSR8605 single-chip ROM Bluetooth music streaming device, a cost-optimized, configurable solution that delivers a quality audio experience to low cost for wireless portable music speakers. Bluetooth 4.0 qualified, the integrated CSR8605 device builds upon the success CSR has already achieved with a next-generation design offering music enhancement capabilities usually found in much higher-featured products. Key features include five-band music equalization, volume boost and remote control (AVRCP) support to enable users to Play/Pause and Forward/Rewind streaming music from buttons on their portable music speaker.

“Bluetooth technology has captured the market for shared listening as the connectivity choice for streaming music from smartphones and tablets to wireless portable speakers,” said Chris Havell, senior director of Audio at CSR. “The CSR8605 device embodies CSR’s pedigree for Bluetooth audio quality to deliver a cost-optimized solution specifically tailored for differentiated entry-level portable music speaker products.”

This low-power solution integrates a Bluetooth radio, baseband, an enhanced Kalimba DSP co-processor, mono audio DAC and ADC, battery charger, application software and an array of I/O interfaces, including I2C, three LED drivers and plenty of general purpose PIOs in a single chip. The peripherals in the QFN packaged device reduce the number of external components required, including no requirement for external codec, battery charger, SMPS, LDOs or balun, to ensure minimum costs.

Lastly,ZTE has introduced the ZTE Grand Memo 5.7-inch handset running on Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors. The ZTE Grand Memo offers a balance between the portability of a handset and the larger viewing and easier touch-interaction experience of a tablet. It features a 5.7-inch, HD, 720 x 1280 display, and a Qualcomm 800 processor with quad-core Krait CPUs and 2GB of RAM. Combined with a 13MP rear-facing camera, 1MP front-facing camera and 1080 HD video playback, it gives users a smooth, quality multimedia experience for gaming and video.

The Grand Memo caters to those who are always on-the-go, with voice response technology which allows users to answer calls safely while driving, and A-GPS and car-mode navigation system for high quality mapping and directions. It comes with a HD version of ZTE’s Mifavor user interface that is designed for smartphones, providing a simpler user experience, and ZTE’s Z Cloud service for the security and access-anywhere provided by cloud services.

Shiyou, ZTE EVP and head of the Mobile Devices Division, commented, “We have really tried to make this device fun for use at home, and practical for use in the office. By combining both of these factors, we have created a well-rounded large-screen handset that is suitable for any situation.”

Check back soon for more gadget news and updates from MWC!

Edited by Rich Steeves

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