When it comes to audio technology, the 3.5mm headphone jack is one of the older survivors. While the audio players have changed from cassettes, CDs, MP3 to Hi-Fi players, the audio jack has remained all the same. It is still in the analog era where the 3.5 mm headphone jack rules the roost. Since those days till today the audio standard used to listen to music has been more or less the same.
The 3.5mm headphone jack tracks its origin in 19th century. It is a miniaturized version of the erstwhile quarter-inch jack (6.35mm) standard that was used by telephone switchboard operators. It's for sure that some incremental changes have taken place over the course of such a long period but the evolution was more of a cosmetic than in substance.
However, user expectation from music experience on smartphones have grown exponentially, with the growing consumption of data on the go.
Over the years, Walkman gave way to headphones which were lighter and made music mobile give way to the portable era. Since then headphones became sportier with round ear clips to stay put during exercise. Then these headphones were coated with large plastic coated cups aimed to block out noise.
The next phase of evolution saw the arrival of iPod with a set of basic white earbuds. Essentially, the audio jack has been around with little and incremental and cosmetic changes since those days. But with digital audio quality getting better and smartphones getting smarter and thinner, the jack is overdue for a replacement.
Audio jack has fallen far behind other components like the USB-C connector, which can handle high-throughput data transfers as well as charge larger machines like laptops. With the digital connection available via USB Type-C, headphone designers can integrate the digital-to-analog converter and amplifier right into their headphones, ensuring consistent quality across devices.
With the growth in content consumption on the go, millennials demand that the overall experience - audio and video is comprehensive in nature. Therefore, the experience of not only how content is viewed but also heard on a smartphone, becomes critical and an area that most smartphone manufacturers have not shifted their focus on.
And making this change possible is global internet ecosystem conglomerate, LeEco that has announced that it will hold a launch event on June 8, 2016 with a theme "2Future". This has thrown wild speculations about the company launching its next generation Superphones that might have USB Type C standard for plugging in our headphones.
LeEco has already launched its Superphones in China that comes with CDLA (Continual Digital Lossless Audio) standard Type-C interface for a revolutionary music experience, which made LeEco the world's first to initiate the CDLA standard in smartphones. Most of the time, music in the audio jack get lost in transition.
There are many problems in analog audio like interface noise, compatibility problem, poor sound field, noise from connector, and etc. No matter how good the performance of the drive circuit is, as long as 3.5mm jack is used, there will always be inevitable losses happening. Coupled with the fact that users may use various earphones, it is just impossible to achieve real integration between the phone and the earphone.
The new CDLA standard will erase all these problems and dramatically improve the audio quality. The CDLA music standard is all set to redefine audio experience in smartphones with its breakthrough technology, intelligence and an ecosystem revolution.