Why Google says it killed the Pixel 2’s headphone jack, even though it called out Apple last year for doing the same thing

Google's new Pixel 2 phones don't come with a headphone jack.

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Google’s new Pixel 2 phones don’t come with a headphone jack.
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YouTube/Marques Brownlee

During its big Pixel event on Wednesday, Google didn’t linger when it got to the part about the missing headphone jacks on its new Pixel 2 smartphones.

Google’s new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are void of the old but ubiquitous 3.5 mm headphone jack, even though Google poked fun at Apple for removing the headphone jack from its iPhone 7 lineup in October 2016.

Here’s the slide Google included in its original Pixel phone announcement last year.

Google Pixel original jab at Apple headphone jack

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Google

Unlike Apple and its “courage” reasoning for removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, Google didn’t shed any light on why it removed the headphone jack from the new Pixel 2 smartphones during its event. Google’s product chief, Mario Queiroz, did, however, tell TechCrunch why after the presentation.

It turns out Google wants to make future Pixel phones with thinner bezels around the display, and removing the headphone jack “sooner rather than later” will make it easier to “make the shift,” Queiroz told TechCrunch.

Queiroz’s statement raises questions about why Google didn’t make the shift now and give the Pixel 2 phones the ultranarrow bezels it wants to add to its future Pixel phones. Apparently, Google wanted to have two front-facing speakers on its phones, which wouldn’t allow for the ultranarrow bezels that’s you’d find on the iPhone X or Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Note 8 phones, according to TechCrunch.

Removing the headphone jack from the Pixel 2 phones also gave Google the opportunity to introduce its new Pixel Bud earphones, Queiroz said. The Pixel Bud earphones are Google’s version of Apple’s AirPods, which are designed to ease the transition from wired headphones to wireless ones, at least for those with headphone-jack-less iPhones.

Google Pixel Buds.

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Google Pixel Buds.
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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

Either way, my feelings about removing headphone jacks on smartphones are mixed. On the one hand, I hate wires, and I already use wireless headphones. On the other hand, headphone jacks are useful when wireless-headphone batteries die, and many wireless varieties come with headphone wires in case you’re out of reach of a charger.

Google did say the Pixel 2 phones will come with a USB-C headphone-jack adapter – so you’ll have to keep the adapter handy in case your wireless headphone batteries die, or if you plan on keeping your wired headphones.