Android and Apple go the USB-C route; 3.5 falls out of favour

While USB Type-C ports are quickly finding their way into almost all premium phones launched this year, a new headphone launched by JBL with a Type-C port signifies a change that may see 3.5mm headphone jacks in smartphones disappear in the coming months.

What is a USB Type-C port?

The USB Type-C port is the latest and the most advanced port and connector which lets you charge your devices and transfer files between devices much quicker than existing connectors.

The port features a design which lets you connect it to a socket both ways without having to worry about plugging it upside down. Measuring 8.4mm by 2.6mm, it is capable of supporting speeds up to 10Gbps and a power output of 20V which is strong enough to charge the most advanced laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The Type-C port has already been adopted by Apple in its 12-inch MacBook and also features in the latest smartphones like Google Nexus 5X and 6P, Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL, LG G5, HTC 10 and Huawei P9 and P9 Plus.

While a USB Type-C cable won't charge your phone in minutes, it works as fast as Qualcomm's latest Quick Charge 3.0 technology which charges devices up to four times faster than conventional charging.

Will USB Type-C turn into headphone jacks?

While USB ports have so far been used to charge devices and enable file transfers, a new headphone launched by JBL with a USB Type-C port has turned out to be a game changer. Thanks to the new headphone, you will no longer need the 3.5mm jack to listen to music or to make calls.

The new headphone, named Reflect Aware C, uses the Type-C port for both audio and power and gets charged by any smartphone it is connected with. Launched at the same time as the HTC 10, it will work with all premium smartphones and tablets with USB Type-C ports.


"Introducing the world’s first USB-C sport earphone with noise cancellation and adaptive noise control. JBL Reflect Aware C Earphones combine digital audio and active noise cancellation, so you can shut the outside world out and enjoy better than CD level music. Perfect for distraction free workouts," says the HTC website.

As of now, the JBL Reflect Aware C is the only headphone of its kind to feature a Type-C cable. However, Lenovo's ZUK Z1 phone also comes with a USB Type-C port which works as a headphone-out for ZUK's specially designed earphones. The phone also features a 3.5mm headphone jack and two users can listen to music simultaneously using the two ports.

Recently, a Japanese blog named MacoApple cited some sources close to Apple to claim that Cupertino is doing away with the 3.5mm headphone jack and will offer new Lightening connectors for listening to music or making hands-free conversations.

Even though iPhone 6s is the thinnest iPhone ever, Apple still thinks it’s rather fat. The latest rumours suggest that by removing the 3.5mm jack, Apple will be able to reduce the thickness of the next iPhone by 'more than 1mm,' with screen shape and radius remaining the same.

Just like ZUK, a number of Android phone manufacturers may take a leaf out of Apple's idea and phase out the 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of Type-C ports. The removal of the 3.5mm jack may offer a lot of real estate to manufacturers to add other features like separate speakers or antennas.

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