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Microsoft patent could keep the 3.5 mm audio jack alive

Microsoft patent could keep the 3.5 mm audio jack alive (Source: http://patft.uspto.gov)
Microsoft patent could keep the 3.5 mm audio jack alive (Source: http://patft.uspto.gov)
The flexible 3.5 mm port would be smaller than a standard 3.5 mm port at the cost of higher complexity and likely higher manufacturing costs.

The universal 3.5 mm audio jack has been steadily declining to the chagrin of consumers everywhere. Cheap budget smartphones from the Leagoo Kiicaa Mix all the way up to flagship models like the Pixel XL or Huawei Mate 10 Pro are already dropping the beloved port without much of a public explanation.

As recently reported by MSPowerUser, a Microsoft patent dating back to August 2016 aims to breathe new life to the 3.5 mm audio jack. The Redmond company has apparently been researching the applicability of a new smaller 3.5 mm receptacle that can still accept traditional 3.5 mm plugs. As shown by the image below, the port would sit flush against the edges of the device and will physically expand when a 3.5 mm plug is inserted. The proposed flexible design could potentially allow thinner smartphones to integrate a 3.5 mm audio jack since a significant volume of the inserted 3.5 mm plug would sit outside of the smartphone.

While an honorable approach, we fear that the adaptable "partial" port could be easily damaged since it would require smaller and more movable ports than an ordinary 3.5 mm port. MSPowerUser further argues that there would be little incentive for most OEMs to integrate such a design since the port would be more costly to manufacture than a traditional 3.5 mm port with no immediate promise of a return. At best, the adaptable port would only appear on Microsoft devices if it was to successfully make its way onto consumer devices at all.

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New 3.5 mm audio receptacle (Source: http://patft.uspto.gov)
New 3.5 mm audio receptacle (Source: http://patft.uspto.gov)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 11 > Microsoft patent could keep the 3.5 mm audio jack alive
Allen Ngo, 2017-11- 5 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.