Qualcomm will bring improved haptics to Android phones thanks to new partnership

Qualcomm has announced a new partnership with Lofelt that will see the two companies develop a new framework that will make haptics on Android much better.

According to this press release, Qualcomm will be working with the firm on building new software tricks for perfecting your phone’s vibration motor, not supplying OEMs with fancy hardware. That might sound a bit odd at first, but it actually makes a decent amount of sense.

Your phone’s vibrations are powered by software, and if they aren’t properly tuned, they can come off as super buzzy and inconsistent, making the entire experience of using a particular phone feel worse. This new partnership Qualcomm is entering will result in a framework and open API that manufacturers can adopt for much tighter feeling, satisfying haptics. Lofelt notes it wants to replicate Apple’s Taptic Engine in the iPhone which remains at the top of the list in terms of quality vibration motors.

Over the past several years, the market has experienced fast-paced improvements with haptics on mobile and game consoles. In 2015, Apple introduced the Taptic Engine, followed by Core Haptics in 2019, raising the bar for haptics on mobile. Android, with its focus on an open ecosystem and diversity of devices has a bigger challenge in adoption of a standardized framework for consistent, high-quality haptic playback.

“Lofelt haptics is like Core Haptics for Android. It enables remarkable mobile game experiences and novel UX/UI interactions for the apps of tomorrow. We’re delighted to be the first haptics company certified for Qualcomm Snapdragon.”

— Daniel Büttner, CEO

Of course, for this new framework to become as big as Qualcomm and Lofelt want, OEMs will need to adopt the right Snapdragon processor in their devices. It isn’t clear which chips will be compatible with it, nor is there any indication of when these improvements to haptics will be on the market.

Regardless, it’s nice to see Qualcomm attempting to fix the vibration problems pegging millions of Android devices. I review a lot of phones, and if I don’t have a quality haptic engine, I’m miserable because it just feels cheap. Hopefully, Qualcomm’s plan works out and more Android phones feel like they have Taptic Engines.