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Mobile Monday: MWC from Jacks to Gs

Posted Feb 26, 2018

Mobile World Congress is here, and with it comes a slew of new product & tech announcements. This edition of Mobile Monday will take a look at two opposite ends of the mobile spectrum being discussed at MWC: our collective affinity for the classic headphone jack and our excitement for 5G.

Looking for the Jack
In an industry where device manufacturers must balance user expectation for both innovation and comfort alongside user disdain for adapters and dongles, few hardware changes have driven as much conversation as that around the headphone jack. Coverage around devices at Mobile World Congress is no exception.

Dani Deahl at The Verge was quick to celebrate that the newly announced Samsung Galaxy S9 has a headphone jack, and Tom Warren was less enthused in his reporting of the Nokia 8 Sirocco’s lack of one.

While the headphone jack has long been a staple of phones, Matt Burns pointed out that the old favorite is “disappearing from flagship phones at a rapid pace“. While some device manufacturers are touting the movement away from the port as innovative, Samsung is singing a different tune. Understanding that dongles are annoying and that Bluetooth is a battery drain, Samsung is calling its continued usage of the classic headphone jack as innovative because of its simplicity and lack of dependency on Bluetooth.

Hello, 5G
Yes, there have been rumblings about the future of mobile connectivity as it pertains to 5G for some time, but the specifications for the generation to replace LTE were only rolled out two short months ago. While major carriers aren’t expected to offer comprehensive 5G coverage until 2020, chip manufacturers are beginning to apply pressure.

Indeed, Huawei announced its first 5G chip yesterday at Mobile World Congress, an item that is over $600 million in the making. Meanwhile, Ericsson’s CEO Borje Ekholm told CNBC that “mobile infrastructure is equally as important” as traditional infrastructures of roads and railways. The company is expected to launch its 5G networks as early as later this year.

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