Numerous leaks, renders, and rumors have consistently suggested that Google is going to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack on the next-gen Pixel 2 smartphones. Google will not be the first company to get rid of the popular audio jack. Apple, HTC, and Motorola have already dropped the feature from their flagship smartphones. People who remember how Google mocked Apple for dropping the audio jack are a bit surprised why the search engine giant is planning to ditch the Pixel 2 headphone jack.

Google Pixel 2 Headphone Jack Renders
Image Credit: ApSciLeonard / Reddit (screenshot)

 Why Google wants to do away with the Pixel 2 headphone jack

There could be many possible reasons why Google would want to remove the 3.5mm jack. One is that it will help make the new Pixel phones more waterproof. The original Pixel wasn’t waterproof in the real sense. It came with an IP53 splash-resistance rating. The upcoming Pixel 2 is said to have an IP68 rating for water- and dust-resistance. It will be able to survive a plunge into five feet deep water for up to 30 minutes. 

Another reason could be that despite criticizing Apple, the search engine giant knows that the world will increasingly become wireless. The wired headphones would become outdated in a few years. Also, removing the Pixel 2 headphone jack will give Google some extra space for new features such as the rumored stereo speakers that would provide an enhanced audio experience. 

Android O to enhance audio quality over wireless headphones

The upcoming Android O operating system could be one of the strongest reasons why Google would want to get rid of the Pixel 2 headphone jack. The new OS will be rolled out with the Pixel 2 phones sometime in October. Bluetooth headphones are a good alternative to the wired ones. But most of the Bluetooth codecs such as SBC and AAC do not offer a great listening experience because they are highly compressed. 

The Android O has added support for most of the high-quality Bluetooth codecs such as LDAC, aptX, and aptX HD. Until now, only a few devices such as LG G5 came with these high-quality codecs because the responsibility to support the codecs was on the manufacturer. With Android O, Google will ensure that all devices running the new OS support high-quality Bluetooth codecs. 

A large number of smartphone users are reluctant to switch to wireless headphones because they don’t want to compromise on sound quality. They are a little less likely to complain about the headphone jack if they still get an awesome music experience. Google’s move to include high-quality Bluetooth codecs in Android O will encourage headphone vendors to make higher quality, lower cost wireless headphones at mass scale. 

Google makes it easier to update software

Android O will also bring an exciting new feature that would allow users to update their Pixel phones even if there is no storage space left. Until now, users had to delete some of their content to free up storage space for new updates. According to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) documentation, the new OS will have a streaming update feature.  

The current Android Nougat added Seamless Updates to Pixel phones. It has a dual partition setup. You can stay active on the System A partition while updates are installed to the offline System B partition. After the updates are installed, the device would reboot to switch to System B. Google has improved this setup in Android O. The streaming updates feature will update data in the offline partition block-by-block, reports Gears of Biz. It means the software updates will need only 100KB for metadata. That’s it. Only Pixel phones will benefit from the feature because they come with the dual partition setup. 

Google Pixel 2: What should users expect?

Leaked mock-ups and renders suggest that Google Pixel 2 would look similar to its predecessor. There will be only minor design changes. The Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will have a 4.97-inch and 5.99-inch Quad HD display, respectively. There will be no physical home button. The phones will have virtual on-screen keys for navigation. The device is also rumored to have HTC U11-like pressure sensitive frames that will offer shortcuts or launch apps depending on how hard you squeeze the frames. 

The Pixel 2 is expected to offer 4GB RAM and 64GB/128GB of internal storage. Last month, a report coming out of China claimed that the Pixel 2 would be the first smartphone to run the next-gen Snapdragon 836, which will be an improved version of Snapdragon 835. The fingerprint sensor will remain where it was on the original Pixel. The phone’s back panel would be made of metal and glass, though the glass portion has become smaller than before. 

Unlike its rivals, the Google Pixel 2 is said to have a single camera on the back. Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 8 and Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone 8 both will have a rear dual camera system. As we have seen with the original Pixel, Google could still offer the best photography experience with a single camera through software improvements.