Chip giant Qualcomm is joining forces with haptics specialist Lofelt to make good on the promise of advanced haptics in Android 12. The partnership is aimed at bringing the type of sensory touch experiences offered on iPhones to Google’s operating system by breaking down some of the barriers erected by the latter’s open ecosystem. In 2019, Apple began offering developers more advanced tools to simulate touch and clicks through vibrations, which could be paired with audio and in-game actions for immersive feedback, via its proprietary API.
Now, Qualcomm and Lofelt want to do the same for Android by creating a “universal haptic software framework” that runs natively on the the chip maker’s Snapdragon mobile platform. Android device makers will be able to license the software and API to incorporate advanced haptics for mobile gaming and other immersive experiences into their products, and even device accessories, Lofelt notes in its announcement blog posts.
Of course, it helps that Qualcomm’s huge supply of Snapdragon processors are featured in millions of Android phones. And Lofelt’s specialist knowledge of haptics and audio, partly gleaned through its co-founders’ stints at music software companies Ableton and Native Instruments, should also aid their cause.
But challenges still remain: Lofelt says to close the gap between Apple and Android it needs to work on framework enhancements that can enable on-the-fly haptic playback, consistent transient playback and better synchronization between audio and haptics. If they manage to pull off the feat, it could push Qualcomm ahead of its chip rivals and boost Android’s app experiences in the process.