Qualcomm and Lofelt collaborating to bring better haptic responses to Android devices

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Qualcomm and Lofelt collaborating to bring better haptic responses to Android devices.
Image: Qualcomm

Qualcomm and Lofelt, a German technology startup, are collaborating to improve the haptic feedback of Android-powered mobile devices.

However, the two firms are not developing a new hardware solution. Instead, they are teaming up to enhance the Google-made operating system’s touch and motion capabilities via a “universal software framework and API (application programming interface).”

The project will enable more robust haptic functionality on Snapdragon-powered smartphones launching in the second half of 2021.

Qualcomm and Lofelt Haptic Feedback Collaboration Details

Qualcomm and Lofelt are working together to make Android handsets more engaging multimedia devices.

The firms are creating a framework and API to optimize a device’s drivers and actuators through the Snapdragon platform. The system will utilize adaptive algorithms to improve real-time playback and support audio-haptic synchronization. Those changes will make mobile gaming a more tactile experience and enable app developers to make their offerings more physically compelling.

Since the project is not limited to one chipset, it will improve touch and motion functionality across the Android ecosystem. Qualcomm and Lofelt intend for OEMs to license their solution to bring about widespread standardization. If widely adopted, the framework would enable gamers using a variety of Snapdragon-powered handsets to have comparably immersive experiences.

Qualcomm and Lofelt did not mention any particular handset models or brands in their announcement press release.

Given that almost 72 percent of mobile device owners are Android users, millions of people could enjoy noticeably better haptics after the next phone upgrade.

Why Qualcomm Wants to Optimize Android Handset Haptics

Qualcomm is partnering with Lofelt as part of a broader initiative to make Android smartphones better. In this case, the chipmaker looks to have teamed with the startup to make handsets using its hardware function more like iPhones. While devices using Google’s mobile OS can match and exceed Apple’s flagship in many areas, touch feedback typically is not one of them.

But the jointly developed software solution could finally even the playing field.

In 2014, Apple changed the global personal electronics marketplace by introducing its Haptic Engine. The corporation self-designed vibration motor enabled it to move away from physical buttons and make its offerings more water-resistant. Since the company controls its software and hardware development, its devices have perfectly attuned touch and motion features.

As a result, iPhones have distinct vibration effects for screen taps, incoming phone calls, and gaming interactions.

Plus, Apple’s unified ecosystem enables it to make haptic software updates across its handset and wearable lineups simultaneously. But because Android is a stratified platform, devices made by Samsung and Xiaomi can feel very different. As a knock-on effect, developers within the Google ecosystem cannot give their customers similar end-user experiences.

However, Qualcomm and Lofelt’s project could change the game. In the future, consumers could buy a host of new Snapdragon-powered handsets and enjoy comparable tactility. And app and game firms can make their mobile products more appealing thanks to the greater level of support.

Qualcomm is not just working to improve one aspect of the Android phone universe.

Last December, the corporation announced it had teamed with Google to ensure its Snapdragon 888 platform would receive three years of operating system updates and four years of security upgrades. By collaborating with startups and conglomerates, the chipmaker pushes the smartphone industry forward and assures its long-term profitability.

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