OnePlus 6: Here’s why OnePlus’ new phone won’t skip 3.5mm headphone jack
"Wireless is the future," Tim Cook had famously said a couple of years ago while defending the decision to ditch 3.5mm headphone jack in newer iPhones. Apple wasn't the first phone company to kill the 3.5mm, Google did the same for its Pixel phones the next year. Despite so many companies deciding to skip the feature, a majority of phones still have the traditional headphone jack. OnePlus believes removing 3.5mm audio jack is also not a great idea.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei in an interview to Forbes said that majority of OnePlus fans still prefer the 3.5mm audio jack. "The more important question we ask is "how important is the headphone jack to our users?". The answer we've had back is overwhelming. Every year I do a Twitter poll and the number of people taking part increases each time, this year there were over 19k votes, and 88% said they like physical headphone jacks," he said while replying to a question.
Carl Pei had expressed similar sentiments on the issue earlier this year. In an interview to TheVerge, Pei revealed OnePlus 6 will retain 3.5mm audio jack but will borrow Apple's notch-display. "We saw the implementation [of gestures] on the iPhone," and "maybe it would have taken longer if Apple hadn't done it," he had said.
It's not the first time OnePlus has been asked about its decision on retaining 3.5mm audio jack. Ahead of OnePlus 5T launch last year, the company's CEO Pete Lau explained why the company hadn't gone ahead with the new industry trend.
"First, audio quality. When we surveyed the OnePlus community, 70% of users told us that their priority was sound quality. On the whole, wireless earbuds aren't there yet to provide the same quality of audio. Are the best wireless headphones comparable to the best of the wired? That's possible. But as you get closer to the under $200 category, the options are more limited. Keeping the headphone jack allows our users to continue to take full advantage of the excellent range of audio choices on the market. Not to mention our own Bullet V2 earphones," he wrote in a forum post. ALSO READ: OnePlus 6: Everything we know about the smartphone so far
"Second, user freedom. Nearly 80% of our users use in-jack headphones. At one point, we thought about using another USB-C port to replace the 3.5 mm audio port. The advantage to USB-C is that it would have let us further slim down our flagships.
"However, the question we asked ourselves was whether replacing the 3.5 mm jack with a USB-C port would bring a noticeably improved experience for our users. In other words, is it worth the trade off? And our assessment was no, this design decision was not worth taking away our users' freedom to use their favorite earphones and accessories."
While Apple's AirPods wireless headphones have grown in sales, the same cannot be said for the Android ecosystem which depends on emerging markets like India. But the catch is that these markets still do not have a robust ecosystem for wireless earphones where users can do away with wired audio devices.