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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2018

Secure and Save before time runs out with Bitdefender Exclusive Clearance Offer! Get Bitdefender Total Security 2018 Now!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

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.

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?