Software brings beam-forming audio to mobile devices

July 26, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Wolfson Microelectronics has added to its software solutions in its Ez2 range with Ez2 grouptalk and Ez2 facetalk.

These packages are designed to work alongside Wolfson’s existing hardware platforms, such as the WM5110 High Definition (HD) Audio Hub, to improve the speaker quality for hands-free mobile, VoIP and video calling on smartphones, tablets, PCs, televisions and mobile office speakerphones.

Ez2 grouptalk delivers an outstanding hands-free speakerphone calling experience from a smartphone or tablet computer, something that was previously only possible on a table-top speakerphone device. Whether it is on a one-to-one call or on a group call, Ez2 grouptalk software enables those speaking on a hands-free call to move up to five metres away from the device and their voices will be picked up perfectly clearly. During a group situation, such as a conference call, acoustic echo cancellation, noise suppression and acoustic gain control help track the voice of the strongest speaker on the call at any one time, so that they can be clearly heard by those on the other end of the call, regardless of external environment noise, resulting in clear conversations.

Ez2 facetalk enables outstanding audio quality during video calls on smartphones, tablets and also PCs and TVs, ideal when in a noisy office or living room, for example. Beam forming technology ensures that the focus is on the person speaking and suppresses noise sources outside the beam, while full duplex echo cancellation enables natural two-way conversations, up to one metre away from the smartphone, tablet, PC or TV.

Stephen Evans, VP of Software at Wolfson Microelectronics commented: “Hands-free voice calling on smartphones and tablets using the speakerphone facility is becoming increasingly common in the home, office and outdoors. However, the audio quality from this facility in these devices is traditionally rather poor, especially in comparison to a standard office speakerphone device. External background noise tends to drown out the voice of the person speaking, or the audio isn’t picked up if the person moves even a few feet away from the device. Similar issues