Why does the mid-range Pixel 3a have a headphone jack and not the top-tier Pixel 3? It’s not because of space or any other technical reason. Instead, according to Google product manager Soniya Jobanputra, Google wanted to include a 3.5mm headphone jack because “a lot of people have headphones.” You don’t say.
That’s not the only reason the Pixel 3a (unboxing) and 3a XL have the 3.5mm port, but Google admitting to that probably won’t thrill you. After all, when headphone jacks started disappearing a couple of years ago, this was the big complaint. Everyone already owned headphones, so why take away the port we use them with and force us into buying new Bluetooth headphones or dealing with a dongle?
In addition to admitting the obvious, Jobanputra said during an interview at Google I/O last week that consumers “at this price point and this price tier, really needed flexibility.” And sure, a $400 budget might mean that you don’t have extra cash to go out and buy fancy new Bluetooth headphones too, so being able to use your current headphones is great. With that said, why should that principle only apply to those on a budget? Just because someone has $800 to spend on a phone doesn’t mean they also have extra money for new headphones, right?
Frustrations in that decision aside, now you know what to fire back at Google when the Pixel 4 arrives and they try to sell you on why it’s OK to not have a headphone jack. Please remind them that we all already own headphones, want to be able to charge and listen to music at the same time, and aren’t into creating more e-waste.