Finally, someone has invented an upgrade to the phone call.
A German audio company has developed what it says is the world's first CD-quality mobile phone calls.
At the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Erlangen, Germany-based Fraunhofer IIS demonstrated voice calls in stereo CD quality over a 4G -- that's for "fourth-generation" cellular -- network.
The company says conversations now sound as clear and natural as if talking to someone in the same room. (I think I speak for all of us when I say it's about time. Can you hear me now?)
Engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits call the technology the Fraunhofer Audio Communication Engine, and demonstrated it using an LTE (that's "Long-term evolution") 4G network, the kind that Verizon Wireless is building in the United States.
The engine uses a specially-designed MPEG audio communications codec called "AAC Enhanced Low Delay" for CD quality with "very low" coding delays and bit rates.
Multi-channel echo control software removes echo feedback from a room, and a "specially matched IP streaming stack" and error concealment tools allow for higher-quality audio when the cellular network is on the fritz.
The advancement also boosts the sound of music heard over the call, making the wait music experience a little less....well, gravelly-sounding.
That also means conference calls at the office won't be such an aurally murky experience, and phone calls made in noisy environments will be easier to understand.
Here's a rather amusing video from the company:
Fraunhofer is credited with inventing the MP3 audio file format and co-developing the AAC audio format.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com