A Lament for the 3.5mm Mini Jack

It seems that Apple has pressed the world into abandoning one of the oldest standard connectors still in use, the 3.5mm mini-jack. Apple, Samsung and others are now offering mobile phones sans mini-jack, much to the delight of the Bluetooth Consortium and those who make adapter dongles.

I’m not going to waste any more ink, digital or otherwise, with respect to the logic of abandoning the ubiquitous little connector. Enough has been wasted on that already, and it changed no one’s mind.

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That said, I am able to comment on the shoddy state of the 3.5mm jack in the past generation of mobile phones. The mini-jack on two of my last three my last mobile phones became defective. Both of those phones, a Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, were made by LG, so perhaps the problem is specific to them.

I have other devices that don’t seem to suffer this fault routinely. Of course, it’s also possible that I don’t used a wired headset as much with those devices. Still, over the years I can’t recall as many simple mechanical failures of the mini-jack as I’ve seen with recent mobile phones.

My suspicion is that the lowly mini-jack simply doesn’t get much respect. In the drive to pack more junk into ever thinner handsets, the elderly connector gets squeezed to the point where it’s mechanical integrity can’t be sustained. It’s not a complicated thing. I suspect it’s just gets ignored. Even under-engineered.

It’s a pity since there very reason that the mini-jack has survived this long is the fact that it can be both robust and cost effective. Not to mention that fact that there are millions of existing headsets that use the little devil.

If someone should decide to not include a mini-jack, I get that. I may not agree, but I understand the decision. To include a poor implementation is another matter entirely.

The LG HBS-730 Bluetooth Headset Sucks Rocks

Nexus7-Headset-BT-xmitter verticalAs was mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been looking for a Bluetooth headset primarily for listening to music. This is a very different use case for me. For years I’ve reserved Bluetooth wireless devices exclusively for use with my mobile phone, making phone calls.

I bought one of the leading devices in this class, the LG HBS-730. It was recommended by several friends, so I thought it would surely be great. Except that it wasn’t. Compared to my reference, the Etymotic HF5, it sounded dull and lifeless when paired to anything I had on-hand.

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The Passing Of A Legend & Related Fallout

For the past year and a half I’ve used a Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset. It was the evolution of the Voyager Pro UC that I reviewed in 2011. Not long ago I discovered just how many times such a device would survive a pass through the laundry…which is exactly once. A second pass through the laundry caused its’ demise.

The loss of the Voyager Legend left an obvious hole in my arsenal. Such matters I take as an opportunity to try something new, or at least re-evaluate my needs.

There was a time when I made a lot of use of a BT headset while travelling. In that application it’s role was in support of basic telecom use. More recently I have not been travelling at all. My primary use of a headset has been for listening to the local NPR stream while walking our dogs.

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CSR Wireless Audio Platform: Why You Should Care

A few days ago CSR, a company based in Cambridge UK, issued a press release highlighting the fact that their BC6145 chip was used by LG in the new HBM-260 Bluetooth headset. Normally consumer Bluetooth headsets are just one thing….dull. However, you might just give this news a look because there’s something interesting behind the headlines.

Your presence at this site indicates that you have at least some passing familiarity with the phenomenon that is HDVoice. Over the past couple of years I’ve worked to find HDVoice capable tools for my own use. I started with soft phones, but then went on to explore SIP hard phones and eventually accessories like headsets. Often I was startled and frustrated by the complete lack of suitable products in the marketplace.

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Questioning The Future Of Home Phones

Many folks, including Tom Keating, Garrett Smith and Dave Michels are looking for a next generation consumer electronics device. Over the past while I’ve seen some enthusiasm expressed for the Open Peak’s prototype gadget. I hesitate to call this device a phone although the Open Peak prototypes appear to be a cross between a cordless phone system, a tablet PC and an iPod Touch. I certainly agree that it’s really pretty.

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