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Google Cellphones Music The Almighty Buck Hardware

Google Slashes Prices of Its USB-C Headphone Dongle Following Minor Outrage (mashable.com) 198

At its hardware event last week, Google unveiled its two new flagship smartphones: the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. While these devices feature high-end specifications and the latest version of Android, they both lack headphone jacks, upsetting many consumers who still rely heavily on wired headphones. To add insult to injury, Google announced a USB-C adapter for a whopping price of $20 -- that's $11 more than Apple's Lightning to 3.5mm adapter. This resulted in some minor outrage and caused Google to rethink its decision(s). As reported by 9to5Google, Google decided to slash the price of the dongle by over 50%. It is now priced at a more reasonable $9.
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Google Slashes Prices of Its USB-C Headphone Dongle Following Minor Outrage

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  • Dumb (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I am not a audiophile per say, but I have yet to find a decent pair of bluetooth headphones that don't have connection issues, or quality problems with audio. In fact I can easily spend half the amount on a pair of wired headphones and get far better quality audio then bluetooth. I would also point out that since a smartphone has built in speakers, all the hardware is there for a headphone jack. In reality this is not about saving parts costs, making phones thinner.
    The dongle is admitting that people still

    • Appleâ(TM)s Airpods are pretty good and donâ(TM)t seem to have issues. Theyâ(TM)re well reviewed.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        They're also $300 fucking dollars. I paid $50 for my wired headphones five years ago, I'm happy with them and they still work.
        • Some of us are happy paying $300.

          Mind you if I paid for $300 I would expect something that sounds a shitload better than the Airpods or the nausea inducing Beats Pro

        • Re: Dumb (Score:4, Informative)

          by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1@DEBIANhotmail.com minus distro> on Saturday October 14, 2017 @10:36AM (#55368301)
          No they're not, they're $159. What are you talking about?
          • Do you have a set? If so does it have a noticeable latency? I've found through bluetooth audio in the past that it's delayed slightly and makes films look dubbed, or do Airpods have a fix for that?
        • They're also $300 fucking dollars. I paid $50 for my wired headphones five years ago, I'm happy with them and they still work.

          Apple's EarPods are very competitively priced (for QUALITY Earbuds) at $160, not $300, Hater.

      • Apple's Airpods and Google's Pixel Buds are probably decent. I don't know about the Airpods, but the Pixel Buds still have that really annoying problem with battery life.

        But both of those are horrendously overpriced for what you get.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Even if they do work well (which is debatable) the fact that there is now a booming trade in straps that help you avoid losing them is rather telling. As ever it's form over function.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        Don't seem to have issues? You mean besides the utterly lacking bass and the fucking lag? Useless headphones for anything but non-serious listening.

    • Look into any high quality headset that can make use of the AptX bluetooth audio codec. I have a pair of Sennheiser PXC-500 cans, and when they use AptX my ears have a hard time telling the difference from wired. The good news is that if you still want to cable up with this headset, you can - when they see continuity on the plug, it shuts down the bluetooth radio. The battery life is amazing, the sound is awesome, the noise cancelling is just shy of Bose, but still very good. And, they can be bluetooth

      • Re:Dumb (Score:4, Insightful)

        by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @07:37AM (#55367619)
        Why would anyone buy a bluetooth headset if they're fine using a cable?
        • I have the same cans. Sometimes i want wired, like for times when my PC loses my bluetooth stack. Also, you cant play FLAC/WAV over Bluetooth, I have to use wired for that so its not always a choice. Im not sure if you know this, but wireless and wired are not interchangeable things. Each has its own unique qualities.
          • As far as I know, the only quality that Bluetooth has is you can use it without a cable, and you take a pretty big hit on sound quality. While I am no audiophile, I do want to listen to music at the best quality that my particular set of headphones can manage which makes using bluetooth illogical for me. I certainly don't want to pay extra to use my headphones at less than their capability.
        • Why would anyone buy a bluetooth headset if they're fine using a cable?

          Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the answer to your question is basically because if they want to listen to their music, they are going to have to buy a BT headset, or at least a dongle until the industry transitions (sooner or later; my bet is sooner) to a portless phone. The trend is pretty clear: Ports are going away, and have been for awhile. Phones that don't have physical ports can be cheaper to make, are easier to ruggedize, and are significantly thinner, which are things tha

          • by ShnowDoggie ( 858806 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @10:24AM (#55368231)
            I do not know anyone who wants a thinner phone. I know several people who love iPhones, kept them without cases, who now use a case. They now use a case solely because the phone is easier to hold with a little more thickness and heft. Apple wants them thinner. Goggle want them thinner. Advertisers seem to want them thinner. But do we really want them thinner? Or, are we taking the bad with the good?
          • Then it is the end of music on a phone for me. I'll go back to using an MP3 player with a jack. I'm not paying extra for headphones that will only ever sound as good as the Bluetooth allows them to sound.
            • Well, despite the wishful thinking on the part of people who mysteriously want the jack to go away, it's not going away for a few years yet.

              It might end up going away on new high-end phones, in which case I'll buy old or used high-end phones. But, worst case, if it ends up going away for all phones that otherwise meet my needs and the Bluetooth situation is still unacceptable, then I'll have to join you and carry a second device for music.

              It's such a shame that the industry is taking a step backwards to it

        • Convenience? Sometimes you don't want to unroll that cable and plug in - for example, moving between aircraft when traveling. Just have the cans on your head / around your neck without a cable dangling about looking to get damaged / snagged.

          But, when you do want the best quality / latency possible, plug it in. Why are you arguing about being given the choice? Isn't that what all the bitching about deleting the headphone jack is about?

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "Look into any high quality headset that can make use of the AptX bluetooth audio codec."

        Useless for those of us that record music and need live feedback, because the latency is utter fucking shit.

        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          If you're doing that on a phone, you're the one that is utter shit.

          • by Khyber ( 864651 )

            Guess you've not seen the recent laptops that come without any sort of audio jack whatsoever, and rely upon bluetooth audio.

            But you keep being an old, ignorant assumptive asshole. I'm more than happy to flip that bullshit right back in your fucking face.

            I bet you're the kind of fucking moron that uses Rust.

        • 1. I doubt if you are a professional sound engineer, you are mixing on your phone.
          2. They still have a god damn cable. Read the whole comment.

          • by Khyber ( 864651 )

            Audio engineers HATE unnecessary noise-generating connections.

            Also I guess you never listened to Kendrick Lamar's 'Damn' album which was done almost entirely on an iPhone. It sounds 1,000x better than any Metallica original or remaster.

            But idiots like you don't know what phones are capable of. We used to mix music on hardware 1,000x less powerful back in the beginning 90s.

    • Both google and apple having to back peddle on price, at launch, for the dongles, shows that they dont know what the market wants and are having to react rather than lead.

      I bought the iPhone 7 after my 6S+ was stolen. My next phone will have a headphone jack after the pain I continually go through.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 )

        Both google and apple having to back peddle on price, at launch, for the dongles, shows that they dont know what the market wants and are having to react rather than lead.

        Oh, do tell us! I got my adapter when I bought my iPhone 7. Came right in the box. Wasn't a charge for it at all.

        But hey, I don't want to get in the way of your little story.

    • by Flytrap ( 939609 )

      It is true... bluetooth still has some ways to go before it can satisfy the reliability, consistency and quality of most audiophiles. Bluetooth, in its current incarnations, is a convenience technology that is mostly aiming to be good enough for most people... much like MP3 did for audio and MP4 did for video.

      In choosing a bluetooth headset, one weighs the convenience of wireless listening with the inconvenience of having to make sure that one's headset is always charged before use and balances all that wi

  • Has anyone figured why they dropped support for good old audio out port?
    Apple did it to sell overpriced accessories, but what are google's motives?

    PS
    If other manufacturers follow this idiotic move, "having analog audio out socket" will become top point in my "phone must have it" list, above OLED screen and SD card.

    • I'm guessing it's to save space.

      I'm sure the marketroids and fanboys are already thinking of ways to convince gullible fools that its absence is somehow an improvement. Warmer transients or something.

    • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @06:39AM (#55367487)
      To sell overpriced accessories, or just because they're lemmings. Seriously, $20 or $9, both are more expensive than the $1 it would have cost to leave the always-available jack on the phone.

      Both Google and Apple are pushing $1000 phones which are huge. Tiny $100 basic phones have headphone jacks. Any excuse that it's size or cost is bullshit rationalization.
      • Any excuse that it's size or cost is bullshit rationalization.

        Apple is OCD about thinness but I don't think the market actually is. The few people who are will probably buy iPhones anyway.

        The only sensible reason I can see is for waterproofing. But then there's the charging port. If they got rid of the charging port and went strictly to radio for _all_ connectivity, then I can see it and would probably even support it. But a USB to audio adapter is _far_ worse than 1mm of phone thickness and if there's

        • The only sensible reason I can see is for waterproofing.

          Except that other phones have higher water resistance ratings than the Pixel 2 while keeping the headphone jack.

        • by msauve ( 701917 )
          "Apple is OCD about thinness"

          iPhone 8 is 7.3-7.7 mm thick. One can easily find over-the-counter 3.5 mm jacks which are ~5 mm in total height. If they can't fit a jack in one of their phones, they're either not trying or incompetent.

          And personally, I find the that the current move toward thin phones (including my 9mm thick one) with to-the-edge screens uncomfortable and inconvenient. You have to hold them by the edge, and half the time you'll still end up with the screen sensing a finger overlapping the ed
      • Yeah I'm sure it would have cost $1 to leave it in
      • The accessory isn't *that* much money [youtube.com] in the first place, though.

    • overpriced accessories like the lightning-to-audio adapter included in the box with the phone, that Google makes you buy the USB-C variant of?

      Are you sure that's why Apple did it? Sounds like why Google did it.

      • Apple is just better at the game. They know people will grow tired of having the dongle with them, or lose it, and a lot will just buy bluetooth headphones.
      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        overpriced accessories like the lightning-to-audio adapter included in the box"

        Do they include at least 4 of them? Because, I regularly plug into 3 stereos, plus multiple sets of wired headphones. No, carrying one at all times is not a choice - that's what an always-there headset jack is for.
        • Well good news, Google came DOWN to Apple's price then: https://www.apple.com/shop/pro... [apple.com]

          But Apple is still the bad guy, right? Yes, you can say that they are still overpriced, but you are an edge case, and you are paying for the convenience of buying the latest phone and not carrying a 3 inch piece of wire with you with all the other stuff you're likely carrying.

          Or, don't buy the phone if it doesn't meet your needs. Plenty of other phones out there.

    • Has anyone figured why they dropped support for good old audio out port?
      Apple did it to sell overpriced accessories, but what are google's motives?

      To sell overpriced accessories.

  • by thisisauniqueid ( 825395 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @05:45AM (#55367385)
    Newsflash: Google drops price of headphone adapter from 2% to 1% of the price of the phone. I agree that $20 is way too steep for the adapter, and $9 seems more reasonable (though it should probably be more like $5). However, Google's original attitude towards pricing of the dongle really just underscores how overpriced the phone is in the first place.
    • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @09:19AM (#55367953) Homepage Journal

      It should probably be under a dollar, those adapters cost nearly nothing to make.

      Also does the dongle have a pass-through? Because if you can't charge and listen to music at the same time then the dongle is only dealing with part of the problem.

      • The other $8 is the cost of diesel to chug the things over from China.

      • There is (almost certainly) a DAC in the USB-C plug. But I still think they could make this for about a dollar in China. You can get one that allows you to charge while listening to music, but it costs $45 from a third party.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It demonstrates what a dick move removing teh headphone jack is. Rather than spend an extra $1 on a waterproof headphone socket, they decided to save a buck and charge you $20 to offset the loss of functionality.

      I'm glad I got an original Pixel XL for less than half price on sale. The new one is actually worse in many ways, and doesn't add the only features that the original lacks: SD card and wireless charging.

    • However, Google's original attitude towards pricing of the dongle really just underscores how overpriced the phone is in the first place.

      How so? Extra plastic, and extra circuitry. Not just a wire, but a whole powered DAC in a connector. Add in USB licensing fees, and the cost recovery from a separate product what do you expect? I suppose you could buy a cheap knockoff that doesn't work for $10 from Amazon. But really the price of a separate product has zero to do with the price of another completely different product.

    • The phones may be overpriced, but neither company is nickel and dining their customers in this instance, since both Apple and Google include the dongle in the box. And it makes sense that they’d do so, since it’s an easy way to add value to their premium-priced phones while also easing the pain during this transition to wireless that they’re forcing on consumers.

      Now, if Google was making their customers buy it separately, that’d be something worth complaining about, but aside from th

      • Fun fact: they include the dongle in the box, but they do not include a set of headphones. And the adapter probably costs them at most $1 to buy in bulk. For a phone that is $850, I would hardly give them serious credit for their generosity towards their customers here.
      • it's an easy way to add value to their premium-priced phones

        It doesn't add value. Removing the headphone jack is a significant reduction in value. Adding the dongle, at best, only reduces the amount of that reduction a bit.

        there really isn't much to complain about here.

        Aside from the loss in functionality that is important to a lot of people, anyway.

  • One superthin without headphone jack. One slightly thicker with headphone jack and a slightly bigger battery - which you need if you consume a lot of media on your phone anyway. I have a non-superthin Samsung smartphone with headphone jack. I am not interested in superthin - as long as the phone fits in my pocket, its okay.
  • Google misses the issue, AGAIN.

    It isn't the price of the adapter, it is the fact that you have to have one in the first place.

    • This.

      Even if they gave everyone an unlimited supply of free dongles, I still won't buy a phone without a headphone jack. Particularly one that costs nearly $1000. For that price, I shouldn't have to compromise functionality.

  • ...but you will never know what I am listening with my headphones!

  • Does the dongle let you charge the phone while using the headphones? some kind of pass through T connection?

    I just saw my nephew addicted to watching video on 5 inch iphone. The phone runs down to 5% charge. Now he can't use both head phones and the charger at the same time. Charges for a few minutes, gets very edgy and nervous, connects his headphones for a few minutes, keeps switching between charger and the headphones.

    In some sense it is a welcome thing, forces him to break staring at that little scr

    • Does the dongle let you charge the phone while using the headphones? some kind of pass through T connection?

      No. There is such a dongle that will be released soon, but it costs $40.

    • Charges for a few minutes, gets very edgy and nervous, connects his headphones for a few minutes, keeps switching between charger and the headphones.

      He doesn't need a better phone, he needs MENTAL HELP.

  • Bluetooth headphones is not there yet.
    It is a nightmare to figure out what sound quality you get in bluetooth headphones/speakers today.
    To send/resive audio via bluetooth you only need to support SBS audio. That is has bad quality compared to bitrate..
    Some support MP3/AAC/LDAC/Apt-X/Apt-X HD/What ever.
    The problem is that both sender and reciver have to support the same format for it to work. You can't just get some headphones that support Apt-X if your phone do not support it.
    And most of the time it is almo

    • Well said.

      I don't object to the idea of removing the headphone jack. I just want manufacturers to wait until there's an adequate replacement for it -- and that doesn't exist yet.

  • if a user asks for it. A usb-c to headphone dongle came with my Essential PH-1. It's been a month, and I still haven't used it (the dongle).

    Perhaps they've done some market studies and determined that there are a lot more folks out there that don't care than who would switch brands/phones due to the slight inconvenience of having a dongle.

    I haven't used wired headphones/pods with any of my phones in years.

  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @09:15AM (#55367935)

    Hard to figure why it should even cost that much. Classic example of asking too much in order to make the second offer seem reasonable.

    • Hard to figure why it should even cost that much.

      Arguments about how much something "should" cost are silly. Things should cost what people are willing to pay for them, period. There's a soft lower bound (cost of production and distribution), but the upper limit is set by the buyers and the competition. There is no "should" in pricing, only what works and what doesn't.

  • But requiring a splitter to charge and listen at the same time is really annoying, and a dealbreaker for my purposes.

    Oh sure, there's wireless charging... but this can be less convenient than wired charging in some cases... particularly if you are regularly charging from usb in many different locations, because then you are having to carry the charger around everywhere you go as well.

  • It might also have something to do with generic ones selling for $2 on Amazon and eBay.

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