HTC's new U series phones follow Apple's iPhone 7 in eliminating headphone jacks

Posted:
in iPhone
In a surprise announcement, HTC on Thursday revealed two new flagship phones, the U Ultra and U Play -- both of which, like Apple's iPhone 7, abandon a headphone jack in favor of digital-only audio.




Instead, sound for the U series is delivered through Bluetooth, the phones' USB-C ports, or the company's signature "BoomSound" speakers. HTC has stripped out a headphone jack on previous phones, namely the Bolt.

The Ultra sports two displays, including a 5.7-inch, 2560-by-1440 primary LCD, and a 2-inch 160-by-1040 secondary screen used to launch apps and contacts, with an option to show reminders and notifications. The Play has just a single, 5.2-inch 1080p screen.

The secondary display on the Ultra will also serve as a conduit for Sense Companion, a digital assistant that supports both voice and touch interactions without the primary screen being active.

The Ultra also has a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4 gigabytes of RAM, and 64 gigabytes of built-in storage, with expansion possible via MicroSD. Its home button includes an integrated fingerprint sensor, and on the rear is a 12-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and HTC's UltraPixel technology, which enables better low-light shooting. The front camera uses more conventional technology, but with a 16-megapixel sensor.

Both cameras on the Play are standard 16-megapixel cameras with f/2.0 apertures, neither offering optical stabilization. While using a slower MediaTek Helio P10 processor, the phone will have MicroSD and options for 32 or 64 gigabytes of built-in storage, and 3 or 4 gigabytes of RAM.

HTC is now accepting preorders for the Ultra, which should ship in mid-March for $749 -- in the U.S., unlocked models will only be compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. The Play should ship sometime in early 2017 at a price yet to be announced.

Only some phone makers have followed Apple in removing headphone jacks. Others, like Google, have not only kept jacks in place but marketed it as an advantage.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,617member

    Only some phone makers have followed Apple in removing headphone jacks. Others, like Google, have not only kept jacks in place but marketed it as an advantage.
    Well, you always market what 'cha got. I think all companies do pretty much the same. Omissions are features until they aren't. 
    jahbladecali
  • Reply 2 of 45
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,885member
    I wonder if HTC will see the same whining Apple did? Its only a matter of time before most if not all of the popular smartphones follow Apple's lead with this. 
    jbdragonjahbladeStrangeDayscaliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 45
    macxpress said:
    I wonder if HTC will see the same whining Apple did? Its only a matter of time before most if not all of the popular smartphones follow Apple's lead with this. 
    What's catching their attention for sure is how not only did Apple remove the headphone jack and not lose a single sale because of it, they introduced a better solution for wireless headphones that makes everything to come before it look like a joke, and captured a huge percentage of profits of the wireless headphone market over night.

    They certainly know what they're doing. Far and beyond what the typical tech blog author does.
    boxcatcherjahbladeration alradarthekatsmiffy31watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 45
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,762member
    macxpress said:
    I wonder if HTC will see the same whining Apple did? Its only a matter of time before most if not all of the popular smartphones follow Apple's lead with this. 
    What's catching their attention for sure is how not only did Apple remove the headphone jack and not lose a single sale because of it, they introduced a better solution for wireless headphones that makes everything to come before it look like a joke, and captured a huge percentage of profits of the wireless headphone market over night.

    They certainly know what they're doing. Far and beyond what the typical tech blog author does.
    Profits are certainly not lost on the competition.

    Oh, and I repeat myself; AirPods will probably generate $3B revenue in calendar year 2017 with 20 million units sold, and then there's Beats on top of that.
    boxcatcherwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 45
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,527member
    It is awfully quiet here...where are the dozens of posters that said the iPhone 7 abandoning analog audio out was the stupidest decision ever?  
    redraider11jbdragonjahbladedavenNotsofastradarthekatStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 45
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Remember when Apple killed the disc drive? Flash (on the web)? Firewire? There's even more to add to that. 

    Same deal here (re the article.) There'll be the usual bellyaching and gnashing of teeth, prognostications of doom™, and the flurry of ignorant, undeserved negative press from the perennially shortsighted. 

    Then suddenly the rest of the industry follows suit. 

    Apple sneezes, and everyone else grabs a kleenex. And over the long term, it's for their own (and ultimately *our*) good, too. 


    edited January 2017 2old4funbadmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 45
    Wireless for everything is where it is heading, eventually. Just the early adopters who tend to whine about it...
  • Reply 8 of 45
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,604member
    brucemc said:
    It is awfully quiet here...where are the dozens of posters that said the iPhone 7 abandoning analog audio out was the stupidest decision ever?  
    Tumbleweed. 
    StrangeDayspscooter63badmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 45
    What I've noticed on other sites is that when Apple does something first, people generally whine that they're stupid and taking away options. When another company does it first, then it's genuine innovation and Apple is too slow and behind the times.
    Metriacanthosaurusdavenbrucemcradarthekat2old4funcalismiffy31badmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 45
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,975member
    HTC studied iFixit teardown. 
    badmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 45
    cintoscintos Posts: 112member
    No mention of water-proof. Apple sacrificed the jack for size and dunk protection. Did HTC offer rational?
    badmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 45
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,143member
    What I've noticed on other sites is that when Apple does something first, people generally whine that they're stupid and taking away options. When another company does it first, then it's genuine innovation and Apple is too slow and behind the times.
    Well, in this case, Apple was not the first to remove the jack.
    baconstang
  • Reply 13 of 45
    brucemc said:
    It is awfully quiet here...where are the dozens of posters that said the iPhone 7 abandoning analog audio out was the stupidest decision ever?  
    Once they realised that Android makers would eventually follow suit, they prepared their argument—how USB-C was the right way to do it and that the problem all along was that Apple used the Lightning port. They've already been using this argument.

    What I've noticed on other sites is that when Apple does something first, people generally whine that they're stupid and taking away options. When another company does it first, then it's genuine innovation and Apple is too slow and behind the times.
    It is in the nature of humanity to bend and dismiss truth according to what they want to believe...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 45
    macxpress said:
    I wonder if HTC will see the same whining Apple did? Its only a matter of time before most if not all of the popular smartphones follow Apple's lead with this. 
    It is not in Apple hands, but in hands of headphone manufactirers. So far Apple earphones earpads are fashionable crap with no sound quality... welll at least comparable to high end headphones some of us use. Also explain to me why I would need to run and charge ther parts of equipment while I could do only one? WHo is going to replace batteries in headphones and why one would need that service? We are not there with technology yet. Smarter and long lived energy storage solutions need to be developed.
    baconstang
  • Reply 15 of 45
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,624member
    Apple removes the headphone jack, and the media and entire Internet is on fire.  People compare it to the apocalypse, and eventual doom and gloom of Apple.  The media fortune-tellers describe Apple's eventual demise.

    HTC does it... and the reaction is like a fart in the wind.

    Typical.


    Watch... Samsung will be next.

    radarthekatpscooter63badmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 45
    larryalarrya Posts: 548member
    macxpress said:
    I wonder if HTC will see the same whining Apple did? Its only a matter of time before most if not all of the popular smartphones follow Apple's lead with this. 
    It is not in Apple hands, but in hands of headphone manufactirers. So far Apple earphones earpads are fashionable crap with no sound quality... welll at least comparable to high end headphones some of us use. Also explain to me why I would need to run and charge ther parts of equipment while I could do only one? WHo is going to replace batteries in headphones and why one would need that service? We are not there with technology yet. Smarter and long lived energy storage solutions need to be developed.
    The arguments about wires being a thing of the past would hold more water if Apple itself hadn't included the jack on its latest two new macs.
    The argument about waterproofing would hold more water (excuse the pun) if Samsung didn't have a water resistant phone with a headphone jack.
    The argument about sales not being impacted would hold more water if sales of the iPhone 7 had been officially reported.
    The argument that you're correct because of the deafening silence on this board would hold more water if it weren't the middle of a work day.

    It's interesting to see the level of smugness based on the actions of an unprofitable, also-ran Android phone manufacturer.

    For my part, BT is laggy as hell and I don't want another device to keep charged.  I think it was eliminated solely to fit the taptic engine; which, if given a choice, I would not have picked over the convenience of the jack.

    It will be interesting to see Apple's level of commitment to this when the next iPod arrives. 
    singularitybaconstang
  • Reply 17 of 45
    Based on the great sales of the iPhone 7, customers agreed with Apple that removing the jack was great in exchange for

    Improved water resistance.  Folks who say that Samsung achieved it with a headphone jack don't seem to understand that removing the jack allowed Apple to use its method of improving water resistance.  Time will tell which method is superior, but we know for example that some Samsung phones have failed water resistance testing.

    Adding a second speaker.  This is seldom discussed but Phil S. cited this as another benefit from the increased space.  Stereo sound has been fantastic improvement.

    Increasing battery capacity by 14%.  

    Increased size of taptic engine.  

    And yes, this has helped lead industry to offering a vast new array of wireless products. Wireless headphones now are about 75% of industry sales by revenue and exploding in growth.



    charlesgresroundaboutnowradarthekatStrangeDaysbadmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 45
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,862member
    macxpress said:
    I wonder if HTC will see the same whining Apple did? Its only a matter of time before most if not all of the popular smartphones follow Apple's lead with this. 
    I'm sure someone will complain—after all, we live in a world where people want Obamacare to be repealed because they have ACA instead—but their low marketshare and lower mindshare with smartphones means that it'll have the thunderous effect of a beetle's fart in the Grand Canyon.

    That said, there is a clear benefit to what everyone but Apple will probably do. That is, move to USB-C. So long as wired headphones are using the same port interface it's not an issue. I wanted Apple to go this route years ago, but they did it the same year that the W1-chip and AirPods were released, and BT headphones took more half the revenue of the headphone market. That's only a reported 17% of the unit sales for the article from 8 months ago, but that will surely have increased since then and will continue to increase.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,435member
    macxpress said:
    I wonder if HTC will see the same whining Apple did? Its only a matter of time before most if not all of the popular smartphones follow Apple's lead with this. 
    What's catching their attention for sure is how not only did Apple remove the headphone jack and not lose a single sale because of it, they introduced a better solution for wireless headphones that makes everything to come before it look like a joke, and captured a huge percentage of profits of the wireless headphone market over night.

    They certainly know what they're doing. Far and beyond what the typical tech blog author does.
    That's quite a claim. I'd love to see the official Apple data supporting those claims.
    baconstang
  • Reply 20 of 45
    This article needs to mention that the Moto Z eliminated the headphone jack before iPhone 7 did.

    This is from June 2016: http://www.androidcentral.com/moto-z-doesnt-have-headphone-jack
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