Google Pixel 4A renders include a headphone jack and hole-punch display

It’s the slowest week of the year for gadget news. Christmas is in the rearview, and it’s a few days until the new year. After that, it’s a straight shot to CES and then MWC. Meantime, best we’ve got going for us are a handful of rumors, including a peek at what Google’s next budget might could potentially possibly conceivably look like.

Per renders from OnLeaks and 91Mobiles, a vision of the Pixel  4A has appeared — or, a render, rather. The handset will no doubt be an important one for Google. After all, the 3A (pictured at top) helped the company recover from some lackluster sales last year. A couple of pieces jump out at first glance. The display appears to finally buck the company’s longtime notch dependency, in favor of a hole punch camera on the front.

Perhaps even more compelling, the device seems to hold the torch for the headphone jack. In 2020, that could well be a standout feature even among mid-range handsets. As the company eloquently put it around the time of the 3A’s release, “a lot of people have headphones.”

Other notable features on the forthcoming devices include the addition of the squircle phone bump on the rear, a design element borrowed from the Pixel 4. Likely the handset will stick to a single camera, instead of adopting the flagship’s truly excellent dual-camera set up. Even so, Google’s been able to accomplish some solid imaging technology with just the one sensor, courtesy of clever ML software.

The display, too, will be slightly larger than its predecessor, bumping up one or two tenths of an inch. The handset is reportedly dropping around May, probably just in time for I/O 2020.


Android – TechCrunch

The headphone jack lives!

Reports of the headphone jack’s death are greatly exaggerated. Or more accurately, premature. All of the latest versions of Samsung’s Galaxy phones are equipped with a 3.5mm port, bucking the trend set by Apple and followed by Google. While the headphone jack might eventually die, right now, in 2019, it’s alive and could be a major selling point for the four versions of the Samsung Galaxy S10.

Apple ditched the 3.5mm jack back in 2016 with the introduction of the iPhone 7 and some of us still haven’t gotten over it. The port has been around for generations. The 3.5mm audio jack is universal and handy, allowing someone to grab a set of headphones, any headphones costing between $ 10 and $ 1,000, and connect it to their phone. But alas, Apple removed the port from the iPhone and several manufacturers including Google followed. But not Samsung.

While the rest of the industry turned its back on the 3.5mm jack, Samsung kept including it on its latest smartphones and started using it as an advertised feature. What was once standard to every phone, became a selling point for Samsung. This isn’t the first time Samsung bucked trends and kept around legacy features to entice buyers.

Smartphones used to have expandable memory, but as flash storage size increases, manufacturers stopped including MicroSD card slots on its phones. Not Samsung. Expandable memory remains an option in the S10 announced today.

There’s a reason Samsung is the top smartphone maker in the world: It listens to its customers and clearly its customers want the versatility of a 3.5mm headphone jack. I do.

Alas, the 3.5mm jack will not live forever. Eventually the industry will move past the analog connection once there’s a better solution. But that’s not right now. Today, in 2019, the headphone jack has a friend in Samsung.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Samsung Galaxy S10+ leak shows headphone jack, dual hole-punch camera

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is slowly being revealed through unofficial means. Several leaks have revealed key details and the latest report is the most detailed yet. According to All About Samsung, the upcoming Samsung flagship will have tiny bezels, front-facing cameras that poke through the display, a USB-C port and a headphone jack.

This report meshes with past leaks. There could be three variations of the phone: the S10, S10+ and a new version called the S10E. It’s been reported that Samsung will position the S10 as the main model with the S10+ being the large screen model (and the only with dual-front facing cameras). The S10E will likely be a less expensive version and could even have an LCD screen instead of an OLED screen.

Most of phone’s details have leaked out but a few questions remain. Will the phone have a fingerprint reader embedded into the screen? Will the phones have improved facial recognition to compete more directly with Apple’s Face ID? And lastly, will Samsung jack the prices in line with the latest iPhone prices?

Samsung plans to unveil the Galaxy S10 at an event in San Francisco on February 20. We’ll have a team on the ground to tell you more about the device.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Jack to the future for Huawei? P30 leak hints at the return of the headphone port

Huawei, currently the world’s second-largest smartphone company by sales, has won over users partly by loading its devices with a ton of new features, from wireless charging to top-class cameras and catchy cosmetic features like the colorful gradients on their shiny backsides. Now, a leaked image of its next flagship Android phone appears to reveal a surprising reverse course. According to Indian blog 91phones (and via Engadget) its next premium device, dubbed the P30, will feature a HEADPHONE JACK.

What’s that, you say? Aren’t headphone jacks so yesterday?

Well, it turns out that sometimes progress isn’t universally loved. (Pour one out for the futurists here.)

Over the past couple of years, Apple and others have gradually removed the jack from their devices.

Yes, it’s been done in the name of thinner handsets and more features like waterproofing. But — let’s be honest — also most likely also to up-sell people to those very pricey, sometimes pretentious-looking wireless earphones.

But you know what? People — say, those who have a favorite set of corded headphones, or who hate the idea of losing the ability to charge using said headphones — are still missing those inky black holes.

Huawei has been no different, removing its jack in the P30’s P20 predecessor.

But the leaked image reveals that it seems to be making a return in the familiar lower edge of the handset, to the left of the USB-C charging port.

Other features revealed in this and previous leaks of the phone include a six-inch screen, more of that gradient backing, a 24MP selfie camera in a streamlined notch on the front, with a Sony triple camera at 38MP with 5x optical zoom on the back, and no fingerprint sensor port, with the device likely to be shipping in 128GB and 256GB versions.

Huawei overtook Apple as the world’s second largest smartphone vendor in Q2 of 2018, and the last two quarters have only cemented that position. In Q3, only Samsung (the leader) and Huawei saw shipment growth among all the top players; and as for Q4, well, Apple’s given us a little preview of what we will expect there.

Interestingly, Apple specifically has singled out China as a disappointing market when it comes to iPhone sales: Huawei happens to be the market leader there.

So — if this leak is accurate — it’s interesting to think that as Huawei grows often by aggressively following the playbook of other brands, it may be making a bold move by bringing something back that appeared to have gotten discarded in the tech march forward.

If its pace of handset sales continues to stay strong, this could be coming at a key time for Huawei. The company remains in hot water with governments in Europe, the US and elsewhere over questionable and potentially illegal business practices, and that appears to be potentially impacting its massive telecoms equipment business and its lucrative deals with carriers.

As for when this supposed phone might launch, we’re just about to kick off CES in Vegas, but it’s unlikely to appear here. The P20 launched in March last year, a few weeks after the big MWC mobile event in Barcelona, and that could potentially be the same timescale the company follows again.

We’re contacting Huawei for comment and will update this post as we learn more.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Apple ditches the headphone jack on latest iPad Pro models

The headphone jack is missing from the latest versions of the iPad Pro. It’s gone. Dead. Worse yet, the headphones that come with the iPhone will not work either. Apple ditched Lightning for USB-C. Instead, Apple is selling a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle for $ 9.

The latest iPad Pro models follows the trend lines set by the iPhone. Just like on the iPhone, the Home Button is missing, and the headphone jack is gone. It’s a concession some users might find surprising. On the iPhone, there’s obviously less real estate to integrate a large port but that’s, in theory, less of an issue in a large device like a tablet. But it makes sense. Apple tends to maximize margins by ensuring different products use a similar set of hardware. And since the iPhone hasn’t had a headphone port since 2016, it’s about time the trend hits Apple’s other mobile device.

Headphone users are not the only users left in the dark. The iPad has long been a great device for a stationary audio controller. Now, instead of simply connecting the tablet to a stereo with a 3.5mm cable, a $ 9 dongle is required. Want to use headphones? Apple would obviously prefer if owners use $ 159 AirPods though there are a handful of USB-C headphones including these from Google.

Apple Fall Event 2018

Gadgets – TechCrunch