New Pixel 7 series to support Bluetooth LE Audio (LC3 codec)

2022-08-31

New findings by 9to5Google suggest that the new Google Pixel 7 series (and future Pixel 7a) may support a new Bluetooth codec. Android 13 brought support for ‘Bluetooth LE Audio’ using the LC3 codec. The new codec brings improvements to the overall listening experience and sound quality.

In the findings, a recent Android code change uncovered a particular XML file labeled “le_audio_codec_setting.xml”. A message exchange mentions this XML file is associated with ‘P22’ and ‘P23a’. The former identifier refers to the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro while ‘P23a” refers to a future Pixel 7a model that’s yet to be announced.

 AOSPSource: AOSP

This exchange infers that the new Bluetooth LE Audio feature will be supported by the new Pixel phones. It is speculated that Google has added support for this LC3 codec enabled by the second-generation Google Tensor chipset.

The LC3 audio codec will be able to compress audio more efficiently and it can be configured to use more or less bandwidth such as when there’s suddenly a longer distance between the host device and connected audio. The bandwidth adjustment can be made on the fly as necessary.

Of course, for any regular consumer to be able to take advantage of this new codec, both the Android smartphone and audio device must support the same codec. Other improvements include power efficiency compared to classic Bluetooth codecs, TWS earbuds will be able to receive simultaneous audio streams rather than bridge sound between buds, and a new “Auracast” feature will be able to transmit audio to multiple receivers at the same time.

New Pixel 7 series to support Bluetooth LE Audio (LC3 codec)

The recently released Google Pixel Buds Pro does not currently support LC3, but we can speculate that a future Feature Drop update could possibly enable it in the future.

The Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro (along with the Pixel Watch) will be released sometime in October. Rumors claim the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro will go on pre-order starting October 6 with general availability on October 13.

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