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Sony Wireless Headphones with Bluetooth 5.0 pass thru FCC (update)

Sony WI-C300 WI-C200 WI-C310

Sony has registered 2 new wireless headphones with the FCC, the WI-C200 and WI-C310.  The FCC documents do not reveal much except that both models will finally feature Bluetooth v5.0.   Judging by the model numbers, WI-C200 and WI-C310, I would imagine the upgrade is not significant in nature and is mainly only for adding a new Bluetooth version and the only difference between the 200 and 310 might be either colour options or only the 310 offering hands-free calling, but I feel removing such a feature from the WI-C200 would be a poor decision.

Update - 28-03/2019

So the headphones passed through the Bluetooth certification site last month and I must have missed them or the model names were not on the certs.  I have linked the certification below and it does provide some new information.

The certification does confirm Bluetooth 5.0 for both WI-C200 and WI-C310 and provides a sneak peak at the hardware being used (see image below).  Googling 8763Bx-BT120117V01 does not yield anything directly but the first 4 numbers jumped out at me because they reminded me of Realtek's SoC's and chipsets.  And it turns out there is a Blueooth Module from Realtek with the model number 8763B in it, the RTL8763B.

Sony WI-C310 Sony WI-C200

If we are to assume this is the actual Bluetooth module being used in the WI-C200/WI-C310 models, then it seems Sony has changed from Airoha AB1522 used in the previous WI-C300.  This is how Realtek describes the chip.
The RT8763B is composed of an ARM core and an ultra-low power DSP core with high efficiency computing power, high performance audio codec, power management unit, ADC, ultra-low current RF transceiver, and smart I/O distribution controller.

There is support for BT classic and BLE, along with USB type-C audio and high resolution audio (up to 24bits, 192kHz audio data format) as well.  But I doubt these lower end wireless headsets will have support for high resolution audio, but would be interesting if Sony will include USB type-C audio, but I doubt it.

Sony WI-C200 Sony WI-C310

The design should not change much if the photo above is anything to go by.  It would be great to see a large driver but unlikely, and I feel the major change will only be the Bluetooth chip.

The current WI-C300 uses the Airoha AB1522 chip, which only features Bluetooth v4.2, so the addition of Bluetooth v5.0 should help with connectivity and battery life if it uses a newer chip on an improved architecture. Airoha has a few Bluetooth v5.0 chips, the 1522S, which I feel is such the AB1522 with BT v5.0.  It would not surprise me if Sony used this in their new lower end devices, this year. The C300 has a rated battery life of up to 8 hours, with the new BT version, this hopefully will be up to 10 hours if the battery capacity remained the same.

Of course Sony should use the cheaper Qualcomm BT v5.0 chips but I doubt it.  Regardless of what chip Sony ends up using, the addition of Bluetooth v5.0 to a low end wireless headphone means we are looking at Bluetooth v5.0 in mid and high end Sony headphones.  This could possibly mean updates to the WF-1000X and WI-1000X, probably mark 2 models, WF-1000XM2 and WI-1000XM2.  Both wireless headsets use the CSR8675, which only supports Bluetooth v.4.2 but can be upgraded to version 5.0 with a software update but do not expect Sony to release such an update.  This means Sony can re-use the CSR8675 which is in the higher end headsets and just have them with BT v5.0.

Since none of the previous devices were tested for BT v5.0 at the FCC, no software update will happening and Sony will most likely release new/updated products with the current chip.

Sony WI-C200 Sony WI-C310

It will be interesting to see what route Sony chooses, re-use older chips which cost less or go for newer more expensive ones.  For now, 2 new wireless headsets are coming our way with BT v5.0, possibly at MWC 2019.

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