We’re still a ways off from Bluetooth audio ever matching the quality of a tried and true wired connection, but Sony is helping Google bridge this gap in Android O. It was briefly touched on in Google’s original Android O announcement post, but the folks at The Verge were able to get a few extra details about Sony and Google’s partnership and what it means for Bluetooth audio on Android.
According to Google, Sony Mobile “contributed more than 30 feature enhancements and 250 bug fixes” in Android O, with a big focus being high-res audio over Bluetooth thanks to the addition of their LDAC wireless audio coding technology. LDAC allow for much higher bitrates to be transferred over Bluetooth — up to 990kbps — translating into drastically improved audio fidelity when using compatible wireless headphones. And there-in lies the biggest caveat to Sony’s contribution — you’ll need to invest in a pair of Sony’s high-end wireless headphones or speakers if you’re looking to take full advantage of LDAC.
It’s worth noting that LDAC is already built into Sony Xperia devices, but by bringing this tech to Android proper, smartphone makers will soon be able to take advantage of Sony’s technology in their own handsets running Android O. With more OEMs dropping the 3.5mm jack, this could give accessory manufacturers extra incentive to license LDAC from Sony, something we’re sure Sony is hoping to achieve from their generous contribution.