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Fraunhofer and Ericsson bring higher quality and lower power consumption to Bluetooth Audio products

The Bluetooth LE Audio codec LC3 facilitates low-energy audio services by reducing the required bit rate for high-quality audio by roughly 50 percent.

A huge number of wireless headphones and earbuds, headsets, speakers and in-car applications are powered by Bluetooth. The wireless technology standard will soon be implementing a new audio architecture, enabling new features and functionalities: on January 6th, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG) has introduced LE (Low Energy) Audio, designed to boost the performance of Bluetooth Audio – for voice calls as well as media playback including music. In addition, LE Audio enables support for hearing aids and audio sharing. An integral part of LE Audio is its mandatory audio codec, LC3 (short for Low Complexity Communication Codec), which was jointly developed by Fraunhofer IIS and Ericsson.

LC3’s complexity meets the requirements of wireless communication platforms and operates at low latency and low memory footprint. The codec provides high-quality speech and audio, even at low data rates, alongside enhanced robustness. A reduction of the required bit rate by roughly 50 percent compared to legacy codecs facilitates low-energy audio services – making it possible either to extend battery life for products or create smaller devices. Due to the flexible codec design, applications are not limited to voice services but can be extended to high-quality music streaming as well.

The Bluetooth specifications defining LE Audio as well as a detailed description of the LC3 algorithm are expected to be available from Bluetooth SIG during the first half of 2020. LC3 software for Bluetooth is immediately available from Fraunhofer IIS.

Fraunhofer IIS is showcasing LC3 at the Fraunhofer booth 20654 at CES, taking place at Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) Las Vegas January 7-10, 2020.

Learn more about LC3: http://www.iis.fraunhofer.de/LC3

More about LE Audio: https://www.bluetooth.com/learn-about-bluetooth/bluetooth-technology/le-audio/

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