OnePlus was one of the last phone makers you could count on to always deliver a headphone jack in its smartphones, though it seems those days are over.
OnePlus' co-founder Carl Pei confirmed in an interview with TechRadar that the company will finally ditch the headphone jack in its next smartphone, which is widely expected to be the OnePlus 6T. However, Pei quickly pointed out that the phone's designers are looking to use that space in new and different ways, possibly by increasing the handset's battery capacity or devoting some of that room to the 6T's in-display fingerprint sensor, which was also recently confirmed.
Still, the reversal on the headphone jack comes as a bit of a surprise. Anyone who follows Pei knows how much he likes to talk up OnePlus' continued support of the 3.5-millimeter connector.
For example, just four months ago ahead of the OnePlus 6's launch, Pei told Forbes that he continues to see an "overwhelming" response in favor of the headphone jack from the phone maker's loyal fans.
"Every year I do a Twitter poll [asking about users' preference regarding the headphone jack] and the number of people taking part increases each time," Pei said at the time. "This year there were over 19,000 votes, and 88 percent said they like physical headphone jacks."
OnePlus has continually used the headphone jack in a prolonged series of sly digs at Apple and other phone makers who've dropped the feature for the last two years. That only makes it all the more surprising to hear Pei tell TechRadar that "now is the right time" to cut a headphone jack out of the picture.
Part of that decision has to do with OnePlus' new Bullets earbuds, which for the first time will be equipped with a USB Type-C connector. These headphones will launch alongside the OnePlus 6T later in the year, and cost $19.95 — the same as the existing Bullets V2 buds fitted with the 3.5-mm jack. Additionally, the company is shipping a USB-C adapter inside the box of every OnePlus 6T.
A spokesperson for OnePlus told Tom's Guide that according to the company's data, 80 percent of its customers used conventional headphones regularly in 2017, compared to 59 percent today. OnePlus says that most of these users switched to wireless headphones in the interim.
With OnePlus now killing off the headphone jack, Samsung and LG are the only major phone makers that continue to fit them to their latest flagship smartphones. However, there's always the possibility that could change. LG is planning to unveil its upcoming V40 ThinQ flagship before the end of the year, while the Galaxy S10 could bring about a radical transformation for Samsung's design strategy in early 2019. If the headphone jack is truly dead, we'll know for certain in a few months' time.