A Silicon Valley startup named Audience will present a new chip at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that should improve sound quality on cell phones by offering superior noise suppression:
Speech quality is of increasing importance in the cell phone industry, Peter Santos, the chief executive, said. "Voice quality is one of the top three reasons for customer churn."
Noise suppression can also play an important role in making cell phone networks more efficient, he said. When phones transmit extraneous noise beyond the speakers' voices, precious network bandwidth is wasted, he said.
The technology can also help improve the quality of the speakerphone function of a cell phone. Using a cell phone as a speakerphone requires improved performance from the circuitry in a phone that identifies a speaker's voice.
The company demonstrates its system by placing a cell phone call from a room where loud rock music is being played. When the noise suppression chip is turned on, there is a striking decline in background noise while the speaker's voice remains clearly audible.
Santos said the company's technology has already been adopted by several major handset manufacturers, and they will announce its inclusion in their products this year.