Blog about voice enhancements

Qualcomm Hexagon benefits NXP Software

NXP Software delivers less battery drain and faster time to market fit with the Qualcomm Hexagon DSP

Hexagon programm TMNicolas Sauvage, Sr. Sales Director at NXP Software, leads and promotes the value of partnering within the Qualcomm Hexagon Access Program.

“It’s a dream come true,” says Nicolas in an interview (YouTube link). “Putting our algorithms on the Hexagon DSP has two distinct benefits for our OEM customers and, importantly, their end-users, the consumers.”

#1 Reduced Power Consumption.

In the Qualcomm Hexagon Uplinq seminar (video link) moderator Steven Brightfield, Qualcomm’s Director of Product Management, gave a use case of how Android on the Qualcomm platform had initially configured music to play via the device CPU, but when they switched to the DSP they got 10x the battery life.

“Reduced power consumption is vital,” Nicolas explains. “By integrating our software into the Hexagon DSP we can reduce power drain to just 1 or 2 milliwatts. That’s useful for smartphones, but absolutely vital for future developments like wearable devices with smaller batteries, and for always-on contextual sensing applications where the microphone is constantly analyzing the user and its context. Eventually our software will take advantage of up to twenty sensors to better understand the user’s environment and intent, ultimately assisting the user better in his everyday life.”
“Every other component of smart devices advances at an incredible pace,” observes Nicolas, “with the exception of batteries.”

The New York Times agrees. In a 2014 article ‘Building a Better Battery’ (link), journalists Brian X. Chen and Nick Bilton wrote: ‘Although computer chips have doubled in speed every few years, and digital displays have become significantly brighter and sharper, battery technology is largely stuck in the 20th century. Device makers have relied on incremental improvements to battery power, now usually supplied by a decades-old lithium-ion concoction, in combination with more energy-efficient chips and screens.’

“So our software, combined with Qualcomm’s Hexagon DSP, really are enabling the next generation of speech and sensing applications,” continues Nicolas. “Without extreme power reduction measures, those developments just couldn’t be considered as they would empty your mobile device’s battery within a day.”

#2. Faster time to market fit.

The second feature of the Hexagon DSP evolution that really gets Nicolas enthusiastic is Dynamic Loading.

“This enables us to send code to our customers which they can implement and test quickly, so we can manage software iterations in days that used to take longer and therefore iterate with our customers much faster towards innovative solutions that are valuable to consumers.”

In the Uplinq seminar below, Steven Brightfield explains how the Dynamic Loading API-driven environment enables developers to embed C++ programming on the DSP without Qualcomm having to release the source code.

“That’s incredible for us and our OEM customers,” Nicolas explains. “Soon our customers who use the Qualcomm platform – and that’s a list which includes Samsung, Huawei, LG, OPPO and ZTE – can use a ‘lean startup’ approach to get prototype products, or MVPs (Minimum Viable Products), in front of their consumer testers much more frequently, say every two weeks, and quickly implement iterations based on user feedback.”

In this video interview, Nicolas mentions how even NXP Software’s latest product developments were available to become elements of the ZTE Nubia flagship smartphone by being integrated very quickly on Hexagon DSP, reaching production in a short number of weeks. “That has awesome implications for consumers and OEMs.”

Latency is another DSP benefit.

In the Uplinq video below, Steven Brightfield responds to a question from the floor about latency by explaining that the typical Android latency is 80 to 100 milliseconds, but the latency figure on the Hexagon DSP software is in the region of 10 to 20 milliseconds.

“That’s another benefit of being a Hexagon Access Program Partner as NXP Software,” Nicolas enthuses. “One of our core propositions is helping OEMs to enhance the natural voice quality of handsets, and reduced latency is a vital part of that equation.”

“Our vision for smartphones, wearables and the Internet of Things is perfectly aligned with Qualcomm,” Nicolas states, “and together we’ll make it happen.”

Reference sources for this article:

Video (Nicolas Sauvage interview): NXP Software Enhances Voice Software Solutions With Qualcomm Hexagon SDK

Video : Qualcomm’s Hexagon DSP

Video (from UPLINQ 2014): How Developers Use the Qualcomm Hexagon DSP

Video (from UPLINQ 2014): Qualcomm Hexagon SDK: Optimize Your Multimedia Solutions

Qualcomm Snapdragon Blog: The OnePlus One goes the distance with music playback

New York Times: Building a Better Battery.

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