Last year we saw a trend where OEMs focused a lot on the quality of camera performance, but this year the trend has been to shrink the bezels of our smartphones and making them as thin as possible. Some OEMs like Essential Products have eliminated most of them entirely while others like LG are keeping some of the top and bottom bezels for components like speakers, a camera, sensors and more. This trend has led multiple companies to disband the 3.5mm headphone port entirely to save space but a new patent from Microsoft could eliminate that excuse.
Apple started this trend of dropping the 3.5mm headphone port and their excuse was that they needed the space for their taptic engine. This is a highly regarded feature for newer iPhone owners so many are okay with the transition. Some have been resistant to the change as they find convenience in having the 3.5mm headphone port (for charging reasons) while others have already invested in expensive headphones that currently have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Since then, this trend has shifted to the Android market and some OEMs have felt they needed to get rid of that port so they could reduce the size of the bezels. However, there’s a new patent that was just revealed from Microsoft could make that reasoning null and void. As you can see from the images below, their goal is to expand the space surrounding the 3.5mm headphone port instead of making the OEMs reserve the space inside their smartphones.
This is a unique solution to the problem and it will be interesting if it ever becomes used in a product in the future. It will create a ‘lip’ protruding out from the top and/or bottom of the phone when a 3.5mm headphone jack is plugged in, but it does solve the problem OEMs have been having. We’ll just have to wait and see if the solution ends up being durable, cheap and easy to implement.