Will Google Drop the Headphone Jack in Next Pixel Phone?

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The Pixel smartphone from Google and its parent company, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), has proven to be a major success for the company, at least as far as delivery delays can measure these things. The phones were unavailable to ship beginning in mid-January but have continued to sell, even including a projected two-month delay in actual shipments.

Last Friday the company said it was working on the next generation of Pixel phones and, if everything goes according to plan, Google watchers expect the new phones to be launched in October. The annual update cycle that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has followed since launching the first iPhone in 2007 has become established as the industry norm, and Google’s senior vice-president for hardware, Rick Osterloh, said last week that consumers “can count on a successor this year,” even though he didn’t give a date.

One feature missing from the next Pixel phone is likely to be the headphone jack, at least according to a report at 9to5Google. Apple dropped the 3.5 mm jack from the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and it appears that Google is planning to do the same thing with the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, as the phones are being called now.

Google used the headphone jack on the first Pixel phone as a differentiator from the iPhone, even promoting the jack as “satisfyingly not new.” But times change.

Given that a dedicated headphone jack takes a relatively large amount of room in a very confined space, it makes sense that Google would want to use that space to support other, more advanced features. Competitor Samsung has already indicated that it intends to retain the 3.5 mm headphone jack on the upcoming Galaxy S8 phone.

Osterloh also said that the Pixel 2 will continue to be the premium Android phone. The company has no plans to launch a more moderately priced phone, preferring, it seems, to leave that space for third-party players.