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The Headphone Jack Is Dead and I Blame Google

Dave Parrack 05-10-2017

Google has unveiled the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. These new smartphones both run on Android, both share an aesthetically pleasing design sensibility, and both are missing the 3.5mm headphone jack. That’s right, folks, Google has joined the Apple-led ranks and killed the headphone jack.


In September 2016, Apple launched the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Everything You Need to Know About the iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus No headphone port, water and dust resistance, and Apple's best camera yet -- this is the iPhone 7. Read More . And while these devices won plaudits from journalists and fans alike, Apple’s “courageous” decision to remove the headphone jack No Stereo Jack, No Problem: Why the iPhone 7 Sounds Great It's official -- Apple has removed the standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7. But don't worry, this is a good thing. Read More proved to be controversial. And now, 12 months on, Google has followed suit with the Pixel 2.

We Love You, 3.5mm Headphone Jack!

In the time since Apple launched the iPhone 7, other smartphone manufacturers have removed the headphone jack from their flagship devices. But given how Google mocked Apple over its decision just 12 months ago, I expected the Big G to be the last man standing by refusing to follow the herd. Instead, the Pixel 2 has arrived, and the 3.5mm headphone jack is nowhere to be found.

Google knew that removing the headphone jack would annoy people. So the company won’t have taken this decision lightly. In fact, as product chief Mario Queiroz said after the Pixel event, this is all about maximizing the size of the screen in future hardware iterations. He told TechCrunch:

“The primary reason [for dropping the jack] is establishing a mechanical design path for the future. We want the display to go closer and closer to the edge. Our team said, ‘if we’re going to make the shift, let’s make it sooner, rather than later.’ Last year may have been too early. Now there are more phones on the market.”

This is the very definition of following the herd. Apple broke ranks first, others followed, and now Google feels comfortable enough to jump on board the edge-to-edge express. The problem is not everyone is obsessed with a bezel-less future. Especially those who have spent a fortune buying a decent pair of headphones.

The kicker is, of course, that Google has a ready-made replacement for you in the form of the Pixel Buds. Like Apple with its AirPods Apple AirPods Review Everything you need to know about the Apple AirPods. Read More , Google’s decision to kill the headphone jack has a positive knock-on effect for the company. Which is, in essence, millions of people buying Google Pixel Buds.


I’d Rather Have Beefy Bezels, Thank You

So, in conclusion, while Apple sat the headphone jack down in the electric chair, it’s Google that has flipped the switch.

And while I understand Google’s desire to maximize the size of the screen by getting it as close as possible to the edges of the device, that shouldn’t be as the expense of another feature most of us use on a regular basis. Especially if the ugly notch cut out of the new iPhone X Apple Announces iPhone X & iPhone 8: Everything You Need to Know What's so special about the iPhone X? Can you really justify the $999 price tag, or is the refined iPhone 8 a better buy? Read More is anything to go by. I’d rather have beefy bezels and my headphone jack back than that abomination.

Are you interested in buying a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL? If so, what’s the main draw for you? Are you bothered by Google removing the headphone jack? Would you prefer a bezel-less, edge-to-edge display over a headphone jack? Or has Google messed up? The comments are open below.

Image Credit: B Rosen via Flickr

Related topics: Apple, Google, Google Pixel, Headphones, iPhone.

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  1. Zhong
    October 15, 2017 at 1:58 am

    The removal of the headphone jack is a good choice once headphones came out with usb-c output. Right now, it's more of an inconvenience for those who use wired headphones.

  2. Dominic
    October 7, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I rather LG's take of the headphone jack by adding features (DAC) instead of removing it. Such a bummer when I listen to podcasts and music for about 10 hours a day. No Bluetooth device can last that long in the market. I guess I need 2 sets of headsets to work that many hours.

  3. Erin
    October 6, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    I don't care about the headphone jack. I almost always use Bluetooth anyway.I'm just glad Google left enough bezel to house the front-facing speakers.

  4. JohnFen
    October 6, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    No, I'm not going to be buying a Pixel. The missing headphone jack is pretty much the straw that broke the camel's back. Google is clearly indicating that they don't want me as a customer. I can't think of a single new feature they're adding that is appealing enough to be worth the loss of the jack to get.

    I couldn't care less about minimizing bezels or wraparound screens. I am not going to be using the "assistant". The cameras in cell phones became plenty good enough a few years ago.

    All losing the jack represents to me is loss of functionality for literally no gain whatsoever.

  5. Dave
    October 6, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Closer to the edge? that's a flipping excuse to the real reason of "So we make you buy our next sets of wireless gadgets". And come to think of it what if car makers ditch the good old archaic wiper blades in the interest of increasing windscreen size for wider visibility for us huh? It's clear that this limitation is not a technological one but that of commercial interest. (This philosophy is why I for one have never had an iPhone and have done fine without it from day one todate ) This control-freak nature aimed at tying your personal device to them under some guise of "improvements" is quintessentially Apple & wrong. C'mon Google, now you're being "evil"

    Fortunately there are seriously viable alternative phones on the market whose engineers have no trouble providing the headphone jack plus more, even as they advance in technology. So what can happen if you detach from the herd and vote with your wallet this time round?

  6. likefunbutnot
    October 6, 2017 at 5:35 am

    I really, really don't care about bezels one way or the other. I do think that anything that makes phones any more difficult to repair justifiably needs to be called out and shat upon, including phones so thin that they're basically made of glass and glue, which seems to be the case for all the phones that are skipping a headphone connector.

    For the most part, I don't think Bluetooth is good or reliable enough. I like the convenience but not the sound quality or occasional signal drops. Moreover, the jack is a compatibility layer for older tech like standard PC speakers and some card swipe devices.

    The headphone jack is one of several technologies in the process of being removed from mobile devices. I don't want to see it gone, but I'm a lot more upset by the lack of removable batteries and microSD cards on new phones.

  7. aardvark21
    October 5, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Does't bother me one bit. Headphone jack had to go at some point to make room for more internal components. This is the CD drive/physical keyboard all over again

    • Frank John
      October 6, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Well said.
      I couldn't have said that any better.

  8. Demola
    October 5, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Apple broke ranks? Correct me if I am wrong, but Apple wasn't the first to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack? I guess the Moto Z still has the headphone jack.

    Hint: it doesn't and it was released before the iPhone 7.

    Besides, doesn't the S8 have really tiny bezels and still retains the headphone jack?