On Apple, Android, and 3.5mm Headset Jacks

Someone told Daring Fireball that Apple not only asked Google to remove the multi-touch from the Android/HTC T-Mobile G1 smartphone, but also to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The first part was reported earlier and makes the kind of sense that only tricky mega-corp coopetion can make (iPhone eyeballs are more valuable to Google than the G1's multi-touch at this point). The second part... not so much. Specifically, Daring Fireball's source mentioned Apple's use of the remote buttons on the headset to control media playback as the reason for Google avoiding the jack entirely on the G1. (Note: while this sounds familiar, a Google search didn't turn up any links for Apple patenting anything associated with such processes, so if anyone can point us towards that info, please let us know in the comments).

Other smartphones have long used the 3.5mm headphone jack, and since the G1 is hardly a media powerhouse (it doesn't even include a built-in video app), there's little reason to believe HTC couldn't have included a non-remote, standard 3.5mm jack.

(Aside: Our editor-in-chief, Dieter Bohn, has managed to confirm that both the BlackBerry Curve 8900 and Pearl both make use of some type of headset based media control, so there we go...)

Chris Ziegler over at Engadget Mobile weighs in, calling the entire Apple/Google story from VentureBeat FUD, and the sourcing on the 3.5mm piece sketchy, and while admittedly an unnamed Android source, absent corroboration, doesn't pass the traditional media test, here's the other thing:

HTC seems to love the ExtUSB in lieu of 3.5mm headset jack. It's not just the G1, but an increasing array of their smartphones that are -- and will be according to the 2009 HTC roadmap that was leaked -- abandoning 3.5mm for the ExtUSB.

So, we're not sold on this story yet, how about you? Does it seem likely Apple talked Google out of a 3.5mm jack, or that HTC just plain doesn't like them and never considered it?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

On Apple, Android, and 3.5mm Headset Jacks


I call BS. HTC could have went either way. I can't say how much influence Google had on the HTC design process, but Apple wouldn't carry much weight to HTC even if the claim were true. But I call BS.

Likely due to Apple's patent, they are now the trolls considering the Palm fight and the demise of the Korgan phone.
It doesn't matter anyway, multitouch is an inefficient fad requiring 2 hands. It's only use is for games (to make hand-eye coordination hard!). If you look at G1 appmarket browsers like Steel, they solved the zoom, copy-cut-paste issues with a novel one handed way that's very intuitive.