What is Auracast? The new Bluetooth technology explained
The Auracast broadcasting technology is available on Qualcomm’s S5 Gen 2 and S3 Gen 2 Sound platforms, as well as on the smartphone-powering Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. But what exactly is Auracast?
Scroll down to discover everything you need to know about Auracast, including what it is, how it works and how we found the Bluetooth feature when we tried it out at Qualcomm’s 2022 Snapdragon Summit.
What is Auracast?
Auracast is a broadcast technology supported by Bluetooth LE audio, a low-energy Bluetooth standard that was introduced in 2022.
Auracast allows you to seamlessly jump between audio playing from two different devices, share audio with friends and even stream to large numbers of people in public spaces.
Two use cases that are often used as an example of where Auracast might improve experiences are in airports or gyms. The broadcasting technology could allow people to tune into specific music or TV channels when they’re working out, or hear announcements for their specific gate while travelling.
How does Auracast work?
To use Auracast, both your headphones and the TV or smartphone streaming audio will need to support the broadcast technology.
if you do have compatible devices, there are three ways you would be able to join an Auracast broadcast according to the Bluetooth SIG.
The first is by searching for broadcasts the way you might scan for a Wi-Fi network, meaning you’ll see a list of different broadcasts for different screens and you can choose which one you want to listen in to.
The second is by scanning a QR code and connecting, and the third option is potentially by tapping as you would do to make a contactless payment.
How good is Auracast?
We got the chance to test out the new technology during Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii in November.
Qualcomm handed us a pair of earbuds powered by one of its newest Snapdragon Sound platforms and told us to stand around 1m away from two Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 smartphones that were playing two different Spotify playlists at the same time. Both devices were connected to the earbuds via Bluetooth.
We double-tapped the right earbud to switch from one smartphone to another and found the transition to be impressively quick, taking only a second at most to pause one song and begin the next.
Jumping back to the first phone again was also a breeze and the sound quality didn’t appear to suffer along the way.
It isn’t clear if the process would be as fast using, say, a pair of TVs on the other side of the room in an airport, or if the Auracast would face interference with many more devices nearby.
However, what we did see was a very smooth and simple transition from streaming audio from one Bluetooth device to the next.
The Bluetooth SIG expects Auracast compatible devices to arrive before the end of 2022, so you won’t have too long to wait to try the technology out.