Smart speakers are big business these days, and Qualcomm wants to be at the heart of as many of those products as possible. The new QCS400 series systems-on-a-chip (SoC) could get it there. The QCS400 comes in several flavors for different levels of speaker power, and the more capable versions offer dedicated AI processing hardware.

Qualcomm says the QCS400 SoCs support more robust voice assistant functionality thanks to the on-device AI. The support multiple trigger phrases, and have improved local voice detection even in noisy environments. The AI versions of the chip also have dual DSPs and support for high-end audio technologies like Dolby Atmos. Smart speakers with the QCS400 chips should also be more efficient on battery power, running up to 25 times longer than with past Qualcomm parts.

Most smart speakers on the new Qualcomm platform will use the QCS403 or QCS404. These chips have dual and quad-core CPUs, respectively. Neither has the dedicated AI hardware, but they do support Bluetooth 5.1, Zigbee, and low-power standby with local voice detection. The QCS405 adds the quad-core AI CPU, GPU, and dual DSPs in addition to the main quad-core. Qualcomm is targeting this chip at soundbars and home theater smart speakers. The QCS407 is a beefed up version of the 405 with more audio channels for AV receivers.