Industry giant Samsung could be set to remove the 35mm headphone jack from the next iteration of its flagship smartphone – the Samsung Galaxy S8.
According to reports from SamMobile, the South Korean smartphone manufacturing group is set to follow the lead of Apple, which removed the industry standard audio port from the iPhone 7 and launched wireless alternatives dubbed AirPods – sold separately and retailing at £159.
Two other smartphone makers – Motorola and LeEco – have also removed the 35mm headphone jack, so if Samsung follows suit it could mark a major turning point for the industry as a whole, suggesting the days of traditional wired earphones could be numbered.
It was not clear whether Samsung would bundle wireless earphones with the Galaxy S8, or sell them separately as Apple has elected to do. In either case, it is likely that it will look to offer a premium product that acts as a direct competitor to Apple's AirPods.
Indeed, Samsung recently launched the Gear IconX – its first ever completely wireless headphones.
They were launched in June 2016 and aimed at the fitness wearable market, making it possible for Samsung customers to enjoy their favourite tracks and podcasts while at the gym, jogging, or engaging in other forms of exercise.
Gear IconX was promoted as a simple wireless experience that offers lightweight, secure and comfortable fit with three different sizes of eartips and wingtips.
Activated by simply placing the earbuds in the user's ears, it enables tracking of fitness data such as distance, speed, duration, heart rate and calories burned and a Voice Guide feature that provides instant voice feedback on workout progress, in addition to a standalone music listening experience.
It even offered internal storage for up to 1,000 mp3s, so users can tap or swipe the earbuds to control their music.
Younghee Lee, executive vice-president of global marketing for mobile communications business at Samsung, said that the wearable technology offered by her company is intended to blend fitness and fun to enhance people's existing routines.
"Gear IconX [is] specialised to easily address these needs, ultimately allowing users to get more out of their fitness experiences and everyday activities," she commented.
Reviews for the Gear IconX have been mixed to positive, with commentators appreciating the convenience but cautioning that they are not quite an ideal solution to completely replace traditional wired headphones.