In short: Google quietly released a revamped USB-C Headphone dongle on its store today. This new dongle is $3 more than the previous model (which is actually a pretty big jump in price, about 25-percent). This new dongle is said to offer improved technology that will reduce latency by about 53-percent and reduce power consumption by about 38-percent. Google also says that the optimal compatibility is with Pixel smartphones running on Android P, but it will also work with other smartphones that don't have a headphone jack – like the HTC U12 Plus, and many others.
Background: In 2016, when Google announced the first Pixel, it also announced a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack dongle which was included in the box and also sold on the Google Store for $9. This was because Google had removed the headphone jack. Many didn't expect Google to release a newer model, since there's not much to improve here, but Google did release a new model today. Which is going to make the audio experience better on the Pixel and Pixel 2 lines, for those that do use the dongle for wired music – instead of just opting for wireless headphones.
The impact: While the dongle does cost more, it does also pack more technology that will improve the audio experience on Pixel smartphones. It is also fairly likely that Google will include this headphone dongle in the box with the upcoming Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones that are slated to be announced next month in New York City. Reduced latency between the USB-C port and the headphones is actually a big deal, as it means there will be less lag between the two. While it likely didn't matter to many users, it will for audiophiles. You can purchase the new USB-C Headphone dongle from the Google Store using the link below.