2016 is the first year where manufacturers seem to be taking the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack to the next level. Companies like Lenovo, HTC, and most notably Apple have decided that the 3.5mm connector is not important enough to keep for one reason or another, and it looks like one more company may be hopping on that bandwagon as early as next year. Can you guess who it is?
If you guessed Samsung, you’re right. Maybe. Rumors are just rumors until proven otherwise, but it isn’t far-fetched to think that Samsung would decide to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack as well. I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily a good reason why they might, but I’m not exactly surprised to hear that it’s in the realm of possibilities.
It’s weird that companies are so on board with this concept, though. I think it’s pretty clear that a 3.5mm headphone jack is still an important and widely used feature for most smartphone users. It has been the standard connector for headphones for years. I won’t say that new “solutions” like Apple’s Lightning connector and USB Type-C don’t have their advantages, but I don’t think the advantages are so great to warrant a complete removal of the standard. Not yet, anyway.
Even if people are on board with the connection change, there’s another obstacle they have to overcome (and one that the iPhone suffers from, too): there’s usually just one port, and it’s used for both charging and plugging in headphones because apparently nobody charges their phone and uses headphones at the same time. I will agree that isn’t a common occurrence, but it happens enough to be considered an inconvenience.
Ultimately, the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack creates more problems than solutions right now. Removing a single universal standard for two different standards, not offering two ports to connect with, and trying to convince people that an adapter is a good solution just isn’t appealing when the only return is a marginally better listening experience. Most people weren’t unhappy about the connector before. The only thing I’ve seen people unhappy about regarding the 3.5mm headphone jack is the fact that companies are removing them with so little reason to. I don’t think Samsung will be an exception – there will be a lot of vocal outbursts regarding it if it’s true. But I also don’t like the S8 will suffer much, either.
I was darn sure that Apple would suffer greatly if they removed the 3.5mm headphone jack, but they didn’t. Did some people backlash and resort to alternatives? Of course, but not in the droves they were expected to. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that Apple is the only manufacturer of the iPhone, so if somebody is upset with the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack but are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, then they’re likely to deal with the blow rather than completely switch platforms. Samsung, on the other hand, is not the only manufacturer of Android devices. There are plenty of other options still out there that offer the 3.5mm headphone jack, and I think some people will reject the S8 because of it. However, Samsung is still the top dog when it comes to Android manufacturers. As far as some consumers are concerned, Samsung’s Galaxy line is Android. Between its popularity and looking at how minimally the removal of the microSD card support and the removable battery has affected Samsung (despite vocal backlash), I have a feeling that any boycott of the S8 will either be short-lived or insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
It is still disappointing to read that it’s a possibility. Samsung made a big deal out of keeping the 3.5mm headphone jack during its Note 7 release, which was of course overshadowed by its other issues. I think consumers have made it clear that this isn’t a feature that needs to be replaced, and that most are perfectly happy with this standard. Then again, at least Samsung has a history of bringing things back if their customers show enough interest. Perhaps this is just a move to make the S9 more exciting. Take it away in the S8, and bring it back in the S9. People will hate it, but then they’ll love it again! It’s a perfectly aggravating plan.
It’s not a shift in the industry I’m not happy with, but at this point I’m still just holding out hope that this turns out like the removal of microSD cards did. A lot of companies started getting rid of it, but the backlash made a lot of those companies who removed microSD cards bring them back a year or two later (for example, Samsung with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7). Perhaps the same will happen for this issue, too.