A Microsoft patent shows off a new way of cramming the headphone jack into a much smaller space. With the move towards slimmer smartphones in recent years, the popularity of the headphone jack has gradually decreased due to the lack of space inside devices, with companies such as Motorola and HTC removing it from their flagship offerings altogether. Now, though, a new patent from Microsoft appears to solve this problem by creating what appears to be an expanding port.
Today's headphone jack ports remain open at all times, even if they aren't in use, leading to lots of unused space – hence the removal by more and more manufacturers. Microsoft's latest patent could solve this issue though by introducing a headphone jack that can expand and shrink with ease. The idea would be that whenever the port is not in use, it would essentially lay flat and occupy a much smaller space, but whenever the user of the device wants to utilize it they can simply slide in their headphones and the port will gradually expand in order to accommodate the jack. Now, in order for this to work, the port would need to be placed against the back panel of the device, in order to expand outwards, which could lead to an ugly look whenever in use. Nonetheless, considering the benefits that it would provide users, the temporary ugliness may well be worth it. But considering the difficulty that would be required in creating an expandable port and researching all of the necessary materials and components, the likelihood of it being implemented is slim. This, along with the increasing popularity of Bluetooth earphones and Microsoft's lack of future smartphone plans, point towards very low chances of the concept becoming a reality.
The patent is likely an idea that the software giant came up with when they were still in the smartphone game a couple of years ago. But while it's unlikely to be implemented by Microsoft itself, the idea is certainly a unique one and something that could garner the interest of other tech companies, so only time will tell if other manufacturers, most likely Android ones, opt for a similar solution in order to provide their customers with the much-loved 3.5mm headphone jack.