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OnePlus will be ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack to potentially increase battery life

Earlier this week, we got a closer look at the rumoured specifications of the upcoming OnePlus 6T, speculating camera tweaks, storage options and the firm’s “light-sensitive fingerprint sensor under the display.” It seems that the firm will also be giving up the headphone jack moving forward, however co-founder Carl Pei has revealed that this might have made way for a bigger battery.

Pei spoke with TechRadar about the controversial decision of ditching the aging technology, stating that it’s not about “putting every component available” into a newly design device. Rather, it is about optimisation of the user experience, which has increasingly seen 3.5mm technology dwindle. With the launch of the OnePlus 6T, it seems that only Samsung and LG remain, and there’s no guarantee that the former’s tentatively titled Galaxy S10 will harbour the tech.

“We also had to think about the negative side [of removing the headphone jack] for our users. We found 59% of our community already owned wireless headphones earlier this year – and that was before we launched our Bullets Wireless headphones,” explains Pei. It’s not clear just how many more people Pei expects to have jumped on the bandwagon after the launch of its Bullets Wireless headphones, but he reassures wired fans that they’ve not been forgotten.

Those wishing to keep using wired headphones will instead be provided with an adapter to allow the use of 3.5mm devices. Alternatively, USB-C-based headphones will be compatible, as OnePlus prepares its Bullets V2 with a wired connection.

“We're not doing it for the sake of doing it and because everyone else is. We believe now is the right time, as it'll benefit the majority of our users while keeping the downside low,” Pei said. “By removing the jack we've freed up more space, allowing us to put more new technology into the product. One of the big things is something our users have asked us for, improved battery life.”

This won't necessarily quell the traditional backlash we're used to seeing when a company decides to go in a different direction, particularly in the case of a company that has repeatedly used the headphone jack as a primary source of marketing since 2016. Hopefully the extra bells and whistles will prove to be worth the controversial move.

KitGuru Says: The annoying thing for wired enthusiasts is the need to take up the only port on a device, resulting in the inability to charge as well as listen. With the increased adoption of power banks to counter diminishing battery life, this becomes a problem. Hopefully the size increase of the OnePlus 6T’s battery is substantial enough to quell worries. How do you feel about the removal of the headphone jack?

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