No courage: Microsoft still requires audio jack port in Windows phones

Microsoft hasn't cut a requirement for Windows smartphones to include a port for audio jacks, while Apple and Android phones are moving on from the legacy technology

Apple said it took "courage" to remove the audio jack port from the iPhone 7 and replace it with wireless audio. Microsoft hasn't yet mustered the courage to cut the aging port.

Microsoft has retained the headphone jack as a minimum hardware requirement for Windows 10 Mobile smartphones. The company declined to comment if it would make the headphone jack an optional port.

The headphone jack port isn't a requirement for other Windows devices, including laptops, desktops, tablets, or IoT devices.

Apple gave several reasons for removing the port, saying it was old technology, and it blocked the integration of newer technologies in the already compact iPhone 7.

Before Apple, Android phone makers like LeEco and Lenovo also cut headset jacks from some mobile devices to move on from legacy technology.

Windows Mobile phone makers could still include wireless audio alongside headphone jacks. But the phone makers will lose opportunities to make devices thinner and experiment with new technologies to replace the headset jack.

Beyond wireless audio, there's a big push to make the USB-C port the replacement to headphone jacks. Pushing audio through USB-C port and removing audio jacks will allow smartphones to be thinner.

It's important to move on to newer technologies, but Microsoft's hesitance to remove the headphone jack requirement has technical and financial merits, said Bob O'Donnell, principal analyst at Technalysis Research.

There was a user backlash when Apple removed headphone jacks from the iPhone 7. People were upset at being forced with the extra cost of buying a wireless headset. Moreover, the wireless headsets have to be charged.

The quality of wireless audio isn't as reliable as it is on headphone jacks, O'Donnell said. Apple has, however, developed a special wireless audio chip that delivers audio from the iPhone 7 to the AirPod using three separate communications protocols. That ensures continued high-quality audio streaming.

Microsoft still sells Windows phones but has been cryptic about their future. Other Windows phone makers include HP, Acer, Alcatel, and Lenovo.

Smartphones with Windows have been taken a beating at the hands of iOS and Android. Shipments of Windows phones totaled 1.48 million in the third quarter of 2016, plunging from 5.87 million units in the same quarter a year ago.

The market share for Windows Mobile reached a rock-bottom 0.4 percent during the second quarter, declining from 1.7 percent a year ago, according to a report released by Gartner last month. By comparison, Android's market share was 87.8 percent, and iOS's share was 11.5 percent during the third quarter.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?