Samsung’s next big phone will ditch the headphone jack and the home button, says report

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The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
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Flickr/Răzvan Băltărețu

Samsung will omit the 3.5mm headphone jack from its next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8, according to a new report from SamMobile.

Instead, the report says, you’ll have to use headphones that connect over USB-C, which Samsung first adopted with the now-defunct Galaxy Note 7, a 3.5mm adapter, or headphones connect wirelessly over Bluetooth.

The idea should sound familiar: Apple controversially removed the headphone jack from this year’s iPhone 7, despite months of consumer grousing.

Android manufacturers like Motorola, HTC, and LeEco have ditched the decades-old port as well, but none of those companies have the pull of Samsung, which sells more phones than any other OEM in the world. Recent numbers from analyst firm Gartner say it now holds 19.2% of the global market.

Those figures are down significantly, though, after the Note 7 debacle caused the company to lose billions in market cap and potential sales, along with a hit to the Samsung brand.

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The Galaxy S7 Edge and Galaxy S7.
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Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

This would seem to make the Galaxy S8’s success all the more important – which would make any removal of the headphone jack all the more curious. While the outrage over Apple’s decision appears to have subsided in the weeks after the iPhone 7’s launch, Bluetooth headphones are still far less popular than traditional pairs, often come at a price premium, and tend to have lesser audio quality.

Beyond that, wired headphones using USB-C remain less prevalent than those using Apple’s Lightning connector. While USB-C has the potential to be more ubiquitous and affordable than Lightning, manufacturers are still hammering out the exact specifications for sending audio over the standard.

The move would also come after Samsung chided Apple for removing the jack earlier this year.

All that said, SamMobile speculates that the move could allow the Galaxy S8 to be thinner while having room for a larger battery, or incorporate dual stereo speakers.

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The Samsung Gear IconX.
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Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

Another device that could benefit is the Gear IconX, the pair of truly wireless earbuds that now serve as Samsung’s counter to Apple’s yet-to-be-released AirPods. With a number of tech companies interested in advancing in-ear computers (or “hearables”), removing the headphone jack could help make that sort of truly wireless form factor more accepted.

Interestingly, a separate SamMobile report says that the S8 will also remove the home button, and instead have a fingerprint sensor embedded within its OLED display. This idea has been widely reported as coming to the next iPhone as well.

Samsung has traditionally launched each phone in its Galaxy S series at February’s Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, and it’s expected to do the same with the presumed Galaxy S8. As always, take any and all rumors up until then with a grain of salt.

Samsung declined a request for comment.