Headphone Jack Crisis Episode II: The Google Menace

Episode I of the “Headphone Jack Crisis” was triggered by Apple when they removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 models in the Fall 2016. I never got around to writing about that contemporaneously, but I am writing about Episode II: The Google Menace! About a year after Apple, Google is removing the headphone jack for their new PIXEL 2 flagship smartphones!

LATEST UPDATE: 10/17/17 – this post is presented “diary style”. The latest updates are on top…

THIS IS GOOGLE’S VERSION OF APPLE’S MFI?

Apple has its famous MFI (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) program with certified products. Google is now implementing their own [apparently forgetting that they are not an iOS monopoly like Apple], and they now have an official list of “Made for Google” headphones whose common thread so far is supporting “Google Assistant”. The wired headphones on the list have USB-C input, and in addition to the PixelBuds, they have these models so far:

  • Libratone QAdapt In-Ear USB-C
  • TMA-2 Modular Presets
  • upcoming Master & Dynamic earphones? (because the models listed there are all 3.5mm plugs)

Continue reading “Headphone Jack Crisis Episode II: The Google Menace”

Smartphones with Bluetooth 5

LATEST UPDATE: October 4, 2017 – the Pixel 2 phones are here, and they support Bluetooth 5, but not just that, they also support LDAC, apt-X and apt-X HD…

Bluetooth is a tug of war between convenience and compression. Some vow never to use it on the grounds of the additional compression step. Others will under certain circumstances. Certainly, after one ruins enough headphones and earphones during specific tasks and activities, one may be more inclined to give bluetooth a chance, at least during those activities.

Which brings us to Bluetooth 5, a point of hope and hype that you can listen over bluetooth without noticeably sacrificing audio quality. It is too early to tell as of June 2017, as we only have a couple of smartphones and no headphones supporting Bluetooth 5. But IFA is just around the corner, and so is CES 2018, so we should expect more action on this front in the next few months.

Continue reading “Smartphones with Bluetooth 5”

List of Smartphones Without a 3.5mm Headphone Jack

LATEST UPDATE: October 4 in 2017 ~ the big Google day, the Pixel 2 ditching the headphone jack with Google releasing $159 wireless but not truly wireless “Pixel Buds”. The War for the Headphone Jack got real!

Even the best of futurists sometimes have a hard time beating a coin toss with their predictions, so I have no way of knowing where the headphone jack will be in five or ten or twenty or thirty years from now. At the moment however, it reigns supreme in smartphones, despite some high profile defectors to the Lightning cable (Apple) and USB-C (a few Android models).

Given the situation today, it is a lot easier to keep track of the smartphones that do not have a 3.5mm headphone jack, rather than keep track of all the ones that do (the vast majority of them). There is only a handful of defectors so far. 2016 created a mini panic, but as of mid 2017, the existential crisis that was predicted did not materialize.

Samsung’s Galaxy 8 co-flagships along with the LG G6 and Sony XZ*, Huawei P10 flagships continued to embrace the headphone jack. Heck, even the brand new iPad Pro 10.5″ has a headphone jack 🙂 But the year is not over yet, we are still waiting for the new Note 8, LG V30, Pixel 2, iPhone 8, Moto Z flagships.

Continue reading “List of Smartphones Without a 3.5mm Headphone Jack”