A Brief History of Bluetooth Audio

The Origin of Bluetooth

The Bluetooth technology was created by Ericsson company in 1994, a few years later, Ericsson donated it and conducted to form the Bluetooth industry alliance, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). The efforts of Bluetooth SIG and its members significantly accelerated the development of Bluetooth technology.

As the first Bluetooth specification, Bluetooth 1.0 was released in 1999, the earlier time of that year, the first consumer Bluetooth device launched, it was a hands-free headset, started the discovery journey of Bluetooth audio and also revealed the irreplaceable importance of Bluetooth audio in Bluetooth feature set. Answer and make phone calls, fax and file transfer are some of the features that the Bluetooth 1.0 can offer, but music playback over Bluetooth was not an option then, one of the key reasons is the profiles are not ready.

What is HSP/HFP/A2DP

Following up the development of Bluetooth core specifications, the Bluetooth SIG also released some very important audio-related profiles:

  • Headset Profile (HSP) , providing support for two-way audio over Synchronous Connection Oriented link (SCO), applications like making phone calls and gaming consoles are well featured. It was first released in 2001.
  • Hands-Free Profile (HFP) , providing support for two-way audio over Synchronous Connection Oriented link (SCO), applications like in-car audio is well featured. It was first released in 2003.
  • Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) , providing support for one-way high quality audio over Extended Synchronous Connection Oriented link (eSCO), to carry more audio data with limited bandwidth, SBC codec is mandated in A2DP profile, applications like wireless music playback is well featured. It was first released in 2003.

Bluetooth Audio timeline

Just like the Bluetooth core specification, to solve problems and improve experiences, Bluetooth audio profiles also had some version updates since it was born, The creation of countless Bluetooth audio consumer electronics that utilize audio profiles tells the legendary story of Bluetooth audio, following is a timeline of some important market events about Bluetooth audio:

  • 2002: Audi revealed its brand new A8 which was the first vehicle model that can provide Bluetooth audio in-car experience.
  • 2004: Sony DR-BT20NX hit the shelves, it was the first Bluetooth headphone that is capable of music playback. The same year, Toyota Prius lunched to the market and became the first vehicle model that providing Bluetooth music playback experience.
  • 2016: Apple launched AirPods Bluetooth True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds, brought the best ever Bluetooth TWS experience to users and significantly geared up the Bluetooth TWS market.

The Bluetooth SIG announced a groundbreaking audio-related update and introduced the LE audio to the world at CES 2020. LC3 codec, multi-stream, Auracast broadcast audio and hearing aid support are the killer features that LE audio offers, now the Bluetooth world is developing with both classic audio and LE audio, for the years to come, it’s worth looking forward to more and more amazing Bluetooth audio electronics.

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