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December 22, 2016

More Weird Moves by Samsung

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

Samsung is like that brilliant kid you knew in high school; a delightful genius you could admire but socially awkward enough to shun.

Forgetting the Note 7 fiasco, Samsung’s products are solid. They invent good technology, but they lack the graces and slavish fanbase of Apple. So when Samsung screws up, legions of apologists don’t come rushing in to save them.

I’ve owned many Samsung gizmos. Over the years they’ve honed features and improved designs. The current Galaxy Tabs are gorgeous. This design is a vast improvement over the original Galaxy Tab, which looked like a rearview mirror from a 1960s-era pickup truck. Historically, Samsung moves in a good direction. Their innovation may not get the attention that Apple does, but it’s there.

Now comes word that Samsung is considering removal of the headphone jack in their next flagship phone, the Galaxy S8. Apple has already done so with the iPhone 7, and its decision is controversial.

I rarely use the headphone jack much on my gizmos. My favorite cafe is too noisy for me to hear much of anything. While traveling, the ambient sound inside the plane is too loud to hear all but the most obvious game sounds. And, yes, I’ve tried noise-canceling headphones and they’re just bulky and awkward.

When I mow the lawn, I listen to headphones, but only when I also wear sound-canceling earmuffs — the same I use when I work with power tools. So you get the idea.

Would I miss the headphone jack? Maybe? But if it means that I kust pay for Bluetooth headphones, then I’d prefer a headphone jack. Bluetooth headphones may be wireless, but they must also be recharged. That’s an extra chore I’d forget and then be disappointed later.

Still, I’m puzzled why Apple and now Samsung are all hot to evict the headphone jack from their mobile devices. My guess it’s not the desire to be completely wireless. No, it probably has more to do with the headphone jack’s size, which is fixed. If Apple and Samsung want to design thinner devices, the headphone jack must go.

On another Samsung is also considering dropping the physical Home button from their devices. I wasn’t a fan of the button in the early days, as it would get pressed accidentally in my pocket. The newer phones don’t have that issue, but still: Why have a physical Home button?

Then it dawned on me: Because Apple has one! Then again, a recent announcement from both tech giants indicates that perhaps the physical buttons are going away. I don’t view that move as controversial as eliminating the headphone jack, but it makes me wonder whether Samsung copies Apple or it’s the other way around?

2 Comments

  1. I must admit the headphone jack is a big plus for me as it allowes you to connect other devices that may lack the ability to connect the smart way (Blue Tooth) to amplifiers and hi-fis and the like. I don’t tend to listen to much music on my Samsung, I have an Walkman MP3 player for that, I tend to prefer the room on my phone for things other than music. The actual danger of all these things like the Home button being eleminated is that you will end up with a slab of plastic and no idea of what it does. Personsally I wish Samsung would stop trying to copy Apple and come up with it’s own path (I am pretty sure the exploding notes were due to the iPhone release date, which was already seen as a nonevent)…

    Comment by glennp — December 22, 2016 @ 6:56 am

  2. Samsung does, occasionally, do its own innovative things. The issue I see with both Samsung and Apple is that they’re both now competitively sales-driven. The nerds who think of the great innovations are sitting in the back row, but they’re not who management recognizes as “leaders” in the company.

    Comment by admin — December 22, 2016 @ 7:34 am

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