From a new Material You design and a revamped notification shade to improved accessibility features and Privacy Dashboard, Android 12 packs many big changes. Besides these marquee features, the latest version of Android 12 also lays the necessary foundation for Bluetooth Low Energy Audio, a new standard for low power audio transmission over Bluetooth. While Android 12 introduces the Bluetooth LE Audio API, there’s still work to be done to enable full support for Bluetooth LE Audio. But recent commits submitted to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) suggest that full support could finally be coming in Android 13.
As spotted by Mishaal Rahman, Google has merged the commits that add an LC3 codec type (LE Audio) for Bluetooth A2DP within Developer options. LC3 (Low Complexity Communications Codec) is a new high-quality, low-power audio code in Bluetooth LE Audio that promises to deliver high-quality audio even at low data rates. As Mishaal notes, it’s unclear whether these patches are enough to enable full support for Bluetooth LE Audio, but in any case, we can expect the codec to be ready for the next major release: Android 13.
Android 13 may be the first release to add full support for Bluetooth LE Audio.
Google recently merged an LC3 (the LE Audio codec) encoder and is adding the codec as an option in settings. It’ll be the highest priority A2DP source codec.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) December 21, 2021
For starters, LE Audio is a new standard that enables audio transmission over the Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) radio. It was introduced by Bluetooth SIG at CES last year as part of the Bluetooth 5.2 specification. Before version 5.2, Bluetooth LE was strictly used for data transfer and didn’t allow audio transmission. Key features of LE Audio include lower power consumption, Multi-Stream Audio support for an improved audio experience on truly wireless earphones, the ability to broadcast one or more audio streams to an unlimited number of audio sink devices and more.
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