Qualcomm receives £500k to develop audio devices in UK

Semiconductor and telecoms giant Qualcomm has chosen the UK to develop the next generation of its trademark audio technology. Qualcomm Technologies International – the audio branch of Qualcomm Inc. – is using £472,000 of research investment from Invest NI to help it advance its line of aptX audio products.

Originally developed in Belfast, the aptX will continue to be made in the UK, with Belfast again taking the lead. The aptX line includes wireless headphones, speakers, soundbars and smartphones and can be found in billions of consumer devices globally. Qualcomm Technologies has been based at the Belfast science park since 2014, after it acquired Cambridge Silicon Radio for $2.5 billion.

Confirming the R&D injection into aptX in Belfast, Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton said: “I’m delighted that Qualcomm Technologies International has chosen Northern Ireland to further develop this ground-breaking technology. We are helping Qualcomm continue to drive important technology innovation for wireless audio devices from right here in Northern Ireland. The audio industry is changing fast and our support is also helping the company take advantage of our highly skilled workforce and local tech ecosystem.”

Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager (voice and music) for Qualcomm Technologies, said: “We have a strong and passionate team of audio engineers and technologists in Ireland and the UK. This R&D support from Invest NI will help us to further develop exciting next generation technology for wireless audio and ensure our next generation aptX technology helps to lead the way to new levels of sound quality in wireless audio.”

Qualcomm’s board of directors recently threw out Broadcom’s $103 billion takeover bid. A statement release by Qualcomm said that the board had ‘unanimously rejected the unsolicited proposal announced by Broadcom’. The chairman of the board, Paul Jacobs, said that Qualcomm felt the bid massively undervalued its true value.

“It is the Board’s unanimous belief that Broadcom’s proposal significantly undervalues Qualcomm relative to the Company’s leadership position in mobile technology and our future growth prospects,” Jacobs said.

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