According to Wikipedia, the OMTP devices include:
* old Nokia (and also Lumia starting from the 2nd gen)
* old Samsung (2012 Chromebooks)
* old Sony Ericsson (2010 and 2011 Xperias)
* Sony (PlayStation Vita)
* OnePlus One
* Xbox One controller with head phone jack
* iPhone sold in China
* latest Nokia (including 1st gen Lumia as well as later models)
* latest Samsung
* Sony (Dualshock 4)
* Microsoft (including Surface and Xbox One controller with chat adapter)
* most Android phones
I haven't personally tested most of those, but IIRC when I had a Surface Pro the iPhone TRRS earbuds worked fine with it.
OMTP was an actual standard from a real-life standards body -- the same one that brought us micro-USB across all non-Apple phones. We lost functionality when we lost OMTP; imagine a world where you had dedicated buttons for track forward and back.
Having been involved in the design phase of devices that supported each standard, I miss OMTP.
There's one argument, albeit small, for killing the headphone jack. USB HID has included track control keycodes since forever, so USB earphones should be able to control playback by appearing as a HID device... I think...
Of course, there too Apple is off doing their own thing with Lightning.
The peak of that approach was the Nokia WH-501, which consisted of a micro-USB connector at one end and a clip on the other, which had several audio controls. IIRC: volume up/down, call answer/hangup, mute toggle, track forward, and track back. It came with a regular set of 3.5mm earbuds, but of course you could use whatever headset you wanted, as the mic was built into the clip.
At the time I remember someone had written a linux driver for this device, which worked quite well.
So, ten years ago, we had a cross-platform standards-based headset with audio controls and reconfigurable earpieces. Like I said, a lot has been lost in the recent past.
As a European I couldn't disagree more. Have you see the crap (including Nokia and Sony) that passed for smartphones before the iPhone and Android devices came along?
You also make it sound like some big conspiracy for "the tech media's fawning over Apple and Google's entry".
If there was that much better European mobiles where were/are they hidden?
That some standards (like the above for headphones) existed and were lost, I can accept. But nothing much else...
I have to disagree with you here. The first iPhone was awful and the smartphones and PDAs of the time were in my opinion way ahead of the iPhone. I will concede that the established players failed their market, as people in general (as opposed to techies) wanted a sleek device with nice UI over the features that people took for granted until the iPhone.
I know it's not to be taken seriously, but this neatly expresses my opinion at the time the iPhone came out:
I had the then reviewed as "best" smartphone pre-iPhone, a Sony top of the line one with a stylus. It was crap. Have also played with the Nokia communicator and others. Also crap.
Can you point to any "smartphones and PDAs of the time" that were "ahead of the iPhone" with an actual link to a product page/review/wikipedia, so we can see if that was the case?
>as people in general (as opposed to techies) wanted a sleek device with nice UI over the features that people took for granted until the iPhone.
If those devices didn't have a sleek device and a nice UI what did they have over the iPhone? More features? Features are nothing without the form factor and usability. The internet browsing experience, for example, in those phones were beyond crap.
I strongly disagree.
> Can you point to any "smartphones and PDAs of the time" that were "ahead of the iPhone" with an actual link to a product page/review/wikipedia, so we can see if that was the case?
The difference between these devices and the iPhone baffles me to this day. Yeah the iPhone had a better UI, but it didn't even have 3G, Apps, IM, MMS, Copy&Paste and a whole load of other features. You couldn't even open a socket or ping a machine with it.
> Features are nothing without the form factor and usability.
Again, I strongly disagree. Features are everything, while a sleek UI is worthless if you know your way around the apps you care about.
Unrelated to the iPhone, I consider the trend to "dumb down" UI such that untrained users can have pleasant user experiences without prior knowledge to be annoying and misguided. Obviously that's what the market wants, but I find it frustrating when apps or services are lacking features that people have been taking for granted for 20 years.
> [...] The internet browsing experience, for example, in those phones were beyond crap.
I'm willing to concede that the browsing experience on the iPhone was far superior to all other smartphones at the time. However, I would argue that even on the iPhone the browsing experience was kinda crap, as there was no mobile web to speak of in 2007 and the usability of desktop sites on mobile was hit and miss.
What i gained with an android phone was a larger screen and gimmicks.
And i lost the ability to do navigation with one hand only without looking at the damn thing.
Android devices where not perfect. There was lag (not the occasional hitch we complain about today, actual lag) from time to time, and interface was somewhat unpolished. But the browser worked. Loading full websites and using them was relatively pain-free. Scrolling through lists was responsive and the hardware was better for the same amount of money. And lastly, the Android Market had actual apps that I ended up using and Google Maps was excellent. There was hardly any comparison.
Almost always when a US company enters a global market, it leads to a massive setback for the rest of the world.
Think about credit cards – Europe has been slowly migrating to VISA and MasterCards with their insane fees, away from the old EuroCheque and EC Card system (which had lower fees, and better safety).
At the same time, every German company in the EU leads to worse results for the countries that are yet even more advanced, say, the Netherlands (Net Neutrality comes to mind).
Regarding net-neutrality, T-mobile is currently actively zero-rating music in the Netherlands.
Which was banned in the Netherlands until the recent EU-wide Net Neutrality law, which improved Net Neutrality in 27 EU countries, but made it slightly worse in the Netherlands. (It allows Zero-Rating).
USB Audio devices certainly work, and wired keyboards work.
This is standardized in Bluetooth headphones (although I'm not sure what Apple has done with their new AirBuds or whatever they are called).
On the other hand, a cheap Bluetooth media playback remote works fine, and a decent one can run for months on a coin cell. I've been using one with a variety of Bluetooth earbuds during my commute, since that'a a lot more convenient than digging out my phone when I'm bundled up for winter temperatures. At this point I wouldn't even want wireless earbuds with a wired control. What would be the point?
I think parent asked why the average person needs them, not about why outliers in the arctic circle would.
Hopefully this thing keeps working until someone else makes a useful smartwatch.
Should you have further quibbles to raise, please feel free, although as I'm on my way to work right now it will be some time before I'm able to entertain them.
> Additionally, Apple has patents on their TRRS connection- in fact on the resistances (the actual ohm resistance in-line on the controls- not to get scientific or anything) so that the headphones are designed to work only with Apple products
I'm certainly not an "all patents are bad" kind of person, but this one is definitely a bad patent that Apple filed for anti-competitive purposes that ends up hurting everyone but them.
But frankly I just don't care about Apple's costs: I'm far more interested in the broader economic effects of moves like this, and it's clear to me that both consumers and device-ecosystem manufacturers are harmed economically by patents like this.
So who "wins"? Do we grant the monopoly because Apple is oh so clever (they're really not, in this case), and allow Apple to enrich itself at the detriment of others, or do we look out for the greater good? I argue the latter is the correct choice in a civilized society.
Either you don't believe in patents at all, or this is a fair patent. Apple did find that workaround, others had lots of time until's Apple entry to find it, patent it themselves or open it up.
Completely false dichotomy. Patents are there to promote innovation, not to fracture technology choices, make things difficult and confusing for consumers, and disproportionately raise costs for manufacturers. There's a balance to be found between the economic pluses granted to the patent holder and the minuses inflicted on everyone else due to the patent, and in this case I feel the balance is all wrong.
The fact that someone else could potentially do a bad thing does not absolve you of the responsibility for doing that bad thing.
Indeed. Which is why they didn't patent an "arbitrary assortment of resistances", but a technique that so happens to include one.
> any person who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent,”
I wonder how that specific resistance level meets those requirements when basically any other nearby level would do. It's like patenting spaghettis of a given length or pizzas of a given size.
The thing is not reversible in the mechanical sense, it just fakes it by having the various devices argue among each other what way is "up". This so that rather than having two connectors for each wire, there is two full sets of wires.
On top of this OEMs can mix and match speeds, connectors and power delivery as they see fit. So a C port is not guaranteed to deliver 3.1 speeds or support for Power
The whole thing is a confused accident waiting to happen.
Purpose was to ensure a revenue-share from headphones so that every accessory-maker who wanted in-line controls had to pay a license to Apple to use the control-chip.
(the control-chip was meanwhile reverse-engineered and its functionality is now integrated in non-licensed headphones as well)
Such a nice word for such an ugly business practice....
I got out of the habit of using them as there was only a 50/50 chance of anything happening when pressing a button. Sometimes even when successful it would take a while to take effect. Pressing the button a few times in case it didn't register led to nonsense like it stopping and starting rapidly a few seconds later.
I first noticed this on a Fairphone on 4.2 and just thought it was due to a sluggish phone on an old system, but the problem remained on a Nexus 6 with versions 5 and 6.
Also Android seems to be bad at remembering the last audio app that was open. On iOS, you can listen to something, unplug the headphones, do something, plug them back in, hit the play button and you carry on where you left off. Android not so much - you have to manually open the app for it to work. Although I once had a podcast app and a music app start at the same time.
In my experience, this doesn't work very well anymore on iOS 10
For example, I recently switched from iPhone to Galaxy S7. My apple earbuds centre button pauses and resumes but the volume controls do nothing. So the problem is not as straightforward as Apple vs Android.
Can you seriously patent actual resistances?
These days, Apple devices are 8-pin 2-lane lightning, and use separate lanes for audio and control. The Apple EarPods appear to be 7-pole: separate grounds for each signal wire, all as twisted pair. That's pretty cool, as someone who wants earbuds to work well near RFI.
This is the first time I've heard that argument, what RFI are you near that was breaking normal headphones?
Mobile phones. The good old br t br t brrr tt br whenever the mobile phone thinks it has low signal and fires at full power and causes interference.
A video demonstrating it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TWXCVbBTcc
Specifically, that sound is associated with TDMA-style networks (e.g. 2G GSM), since the transmitter has to rapidly switch on/off, giving other phones a chance to transmit. This induces a series of audible-frequency voltage spikes in nearby cables.
CDMA-style networks (e.g. CdmaOne, 3G GSM, LTE) don't have that problem, since the transmitter is effectively always on while transmitting.
That's why you don't notice that sound very often anymore.
3G used a 10 ms allocation unit, but with HSPA it's been reduced to 2 ms to become more "TDM-like" (it turns out that in real life code superposition is not so good, better split in time and do less superposition: less interference, less power consumption, better results).
I honestly don't know the source of the 2G noise, but from the above it's not as simple as TDM vs. no TDM, as current 3G and LTE both in practice have a time-based allocation component on roughly similar granularity as 2G.
One difference could be the transmission power: 2G can go up to 2W, while LTE is 200 mW maximum so 10 times less. I don't have 3G peak Tx power in mind, but in practice I guess it should be closer to LTE than 2G (interference minimization in a same frequency / reuse 1 network: both LTE and CDMA are reuse 1 deployment, while 2G is not). That will certainly cause a 2G device to have higher power spikes. And I guess the details of the transmit pattern are likely to play a role too.
Except yesterday. And today. And every second day in my life. Because even my Nexus 5X in a 4G network occasionally sends/receives SMS in GSM mode.
Edit: thanks to sibling comment for explaining.
These are unbalanced mics. I've never seen balanced mics outside of recording studios.