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OZ CE Retailers To Benefit From Lack Of Jack In Smartphones

Australian consumer electronics retailers are tipped to get a big lift in sales of wireless headphones and converters as phone manufacturers adopt new sound technology.

A new report from Qualcomm suggests that the ‘true wireless’ revolution is well underway, and the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack is set to be eliminated altogether.

The escalation in demand for wireless over cable headphones could be accelerated when Samsung releases its 2018 flagship, the Galaxy S9.

Wireless is the way forward.

Qualcomm recently produced State of Play report into consumer audio preferences.

State of Play 2017 is based on a survey of 4000 smartphone users and while some of the findings might seem unremarkable (80% of us expect ‘new features’ when buying something!), reading between the lines gives us a good idea of where the audio industry is heading – and can help us ensure we make better purchase decisions as result.

Doppler Labs claimed there is a “striking similarity in design” between its earbuds and Bose’s Hearphones.

The report also revealed that most people now favor wireless headphones, with 53% of participants in the survey, saying that they already owned or were considering buying a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

A further 57% of respondents said that they saw wireless headphones as the future of on-the-go audio, but as appealing as the convenience of Bluetooth audio is, it’s not necessarily the same thing as saying we no longer want the option of a 3.5mm socket on our devices.

Wireless headphones really leapt into the spotlight back in 2016, when Apple unveiled its AirPods alongside the headphone jack-less iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

It was a controversial decision at the time, and many of us would probably still say we wanted to have our ‘true wireless’ cake and eat it, too – that is to say, enjoying the option of wireless audio without being restricted to it.

Trusted Reviews said that Apple has a history of making these calls on behalf of its users (it did a similar thing with USB-C and its MacBook range), and while parts of it fanbase might have been irked by the dropping of the headphone jack, dissenting voices were generally drowned out by the borderline rabid praise heaped on Apple and its ‘bold’ design principles.

 

Which is why the fate of the headphone jack ultimately coming down to what a handful of Android manufacturers do.

Qualcomm Director of aptX Sales and Marketing, Jonny McClintock, said that the future for wireless headphones rests on the next generation of Android flagships.

“The big move has been what’s happened with Apple. Is that a sign of things to come or is that just a brave move that may or may not work? I don’t know what’s going to come out of that [but] what will truly affect change is one big Android manufacturer making that decision – [then] the rest will fall in behind.”

 

As some Android manufacturers have already joined Apple in dropping the jack – the HTC U11, Moto Z2 Force, and Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone (PH-1) come to mind – one might assume McClintock is referring to the two-big forthcoming Android phone, the Galaxy S9 and Google Pixel 2, both of which have been heavily linked to a headphone jack-free design.

 

And given Qualcomm’s familiarity with the mobile industry and the Android phone world, it’s safe to say that the Galaxy S9 dropping the jack would be an industry-wide klaxon that ‘this is happening, and there’s no going back’.

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