Google and Qualcomm want to make more smart headphones with the Google Assistant

Google wants to make it easier to create Google Assistant-powered headphones and headsets, and to that end, it has teamed up with Qualcomm to create a comprehensive and easily customized development kit. Based on a number of Qualcomm SoCs, Google and Qualcomm are hoping this kit provides everything developers need to start making Google Assistant-powered devices right out of the box.

Called the “Qualcomm Smart Headset Development Kit for the Google Assistant,” the snappily named kit uses Qualcomm’s QCC5100, QCC3024 and QCC3034 Bluetooth chips, and supports Google’s Fast Pair technology, which makes it easier for devices to link while also keeping battery usage down. This blending of Google’s and Qualcomm’s technology should mean the kit provides strong support for a variety of Google Home-flavored actions. Pushing a button to talk to the Assistant on your phone is only the start, and it’s expected that manufacturers will be able to enable the various actions Google will be adding to its Fast Pair-enabled accessories, like Find My Accessory and real-time translation.

Headset and headphones with support for the Google Assistant are nothing new, and manufacturers like Sony, Bose, and JBL have been releasing headphones with the Google Assistant built in since 2017. Google even took its own shot at the market with the Pixel Buds. However, the process of creating and adding Assistant support to headphones could be a long and difficult one, and is likely the reason we haven’t seen too many manufacturers pick up Google’s A.I. over the last two years. Being able to simply buy this kit as a starting point could mean we start to see an increase in the number of affordable headphones and headsets with the Google Assistant built in.

Google and Qualcomm have even created an example to show off what the development kit can achieve. While the Qualcomm Smart Headset Reference Design doesn’t have a very marketable name, it does come with high-quality audio, noise canceling, a push-to-talk button for the Assistant, and an extended battery life. The development kit supports a wide range of designs, from wireless stereo headsets, to wireless earbuds, and even more enterprise-focused work headsets. The development kit is available from today.

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