If you’ve bought a flagship phone recently, chances are you’re missing the headphone jack. Now while you can ride the dongle train and dodge the issue, was removing the headphone jack a step in the right direction?
Back in the days of feature phones, companies like Sony Ericcson had their proprietary connectors. You could only use the accessories made for that specific phone. As phones started flooding the market, this became a problem.
You see, cables have the inherent problem of breaking, tangling or just getting lost all the time. Now if you have four members in the family and they all have different phones, it becomes a little hectic to manage all those cables.
A significant part of technological innovation has always been getting rid of cables. If we cannot eliminate them, we try to minimise them as much as possible. This lead to the creating of universal jacks like the micro USB and the 3.5mm headphone jack.
These two jacks have been on literally every phone (excluding Apple) for quite some time now. Having a universal jack for a particular task not only helps cut down on the number of cables you have to manage but also gives users a wider range of accessories to choose.
Now, the smartphone companies are ditching the headphone jack to go from fewer cables to no cables. For the average Indian consumer though, the headphone jack is far from obsolete.
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Headphone jack in the Indian market
The Indian market is flooded with phones on the budget spectrum. Not everyone owns an iPhone X or a OnePlus 6T. People here are still avoiding phones which don’t have a headphone jack.
Why is that? Well, there are a number of reasons.
The headphone jack was ditched so that people would transition towards wireless headphones/earphones. While this may work for western markets, things here are different.
Wireless headphones/earphones tend to be more expensive as compared to wired ones. The budget here is a big factor, and if anything saves us money, we’ll take it.
There are a lot of options on Amazon for truly wireless earbuds and Bluetooth earphones/headphones that are quite affordable. But they lie undiscovered, away from the know-how of the average Indian consumer.
The added hassle of charging your earphones too, plus the fear of dropping an earbud, all of this adds up to the barrier that there is to buying wireless earphones.
Most of us own budget smartphones. These phones still feature the headphone jack. They have only now started to adapt to USB-C or lightning connectors in Apple’s case.
A majority of Indian market still has phones with the headphone jack. As flagships continue to eliminate the headphone jack, soon the budget segment will follow just as it did with the notch and the glass back. Only this time, the change might not be welcome.
The headphone jack is far from obsolete in a lot of markets and the jump from wired to wireless might not be the smoothest of all. Having to plug in a dongle every time you want to use your earphones can get taxing and is disliked by those on a tight budget.