Dolby to bring Atmos cinema sound to mobile

The audio company has special algorithms that deliver spatial sound similar to its Atmos technology to your basic headphones.

Get inside Dolby's booth at Mobile World Congress for a mind-blowing audio experience. Aloysius Low/CNET

BARCELONA, Spain -- Want cinema-like audio when you play video games or watch a movie on your smartphone or tablet? You may be able to get it soon.

Here at Mobile World Congress, audio company Dolby gave me a demo of its Atmos technology running on a tablet. I listened to four different video clips via an ordinary passive headset (Sennheiser, if you must know), and came away impressed. I was particularly amazed at how audio came from below my chin and above my brow, enveloping me in a cocoon of sound.

Atmos is basically a surround-sound system with the ability to support up to 128 audio tracks. It's capable of making rain sound like its falling from the ceiling.

Using algorithms running on either a dedicated audio processor chip or an ARM processor core, Dolby is able to simulate the same effect by tricking your brain into thinking the sound is 3D.

As exciting as this sounds, Dolby isn't releasing this just yet -- the company says it is up to its partners to implement the technology in their devices. Furthermore, Dolby hasn't even come up with a name for the technology yet, though I did suggest Atmos Mobile.

About the author

Aloysius Low is a Senior Writer at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.


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