3 Things Learnt From Galaxy S8 AKG Earphones

March 23, 2017

As the Samsung Galaxy yearly launch approaches next week, the question on many minds is will the Galaxy S8 drop the 3.5mm jack like what Apple did with the iPhone 7? Well, according to a leak from Korean website, Giddlehd.com, it appears that Samsung has decided to keep the 3.5mm jack and bundle the S8 with AKG-branded earphones. These AKG in-ear earphones come with an in-line remote and a straight 3.5mm jack.

Update (24 Mar) - Included new shots from Techrum.

If this is indeed what will be bundled with the Samsung Galaxy S8, here are 3 things we learnt:

1. Quickly Leveraging on AKG Branding
Samsung announced the acquisition the Harman group for a (measly) US $8 billion in mid November and completed the takeover last week. This comprises of its (highly profitable) automotive tech, general audio and professional audio visual solutions lineups. AKG forms part of the general audio portfolio, alongside others like JBL and Harman Kardon. It is quite refreshing that Samsung is swiftly acting to introduce AKG to its existing ecosystem of products and including this audiophile branding with its flagship smartphone.

2. The 3.5mm Jack Is Not Dead
No it isn't. Despite Bluetooth headphones overtaking the wired variant in terms of sales in the US in July 2016, the reality is that many headphones are still wired and people will continue to use them. After all, there are a ton of audiophiles (and normal folks) that have bought wired headphones for a better sound experience before the rise of wireless. Why alienate them? If true, then it's good that the Korean chaebol has stuck to its guns and kept the 3.5mm jack. 

3. Inspiration from Xiaomi Mi In-Ear Pro Headphones?
If you compare these AKG earphones to the Xiaomi Mi In-Ear Pro Headphones, there are some similarities. Below the Y-connector, the AKGs appear to be using a braided cable, for a more tangle-free experience, below the Y-connector but right above that, silicon cable is used. The eartip mesh looks strangely familiar too. If you consider that Xiaomi delivered a really good pair for a darn good price, it makes sense that some design pointers were taken in to give a nice touch to the AKGs while keeping the overall Galaxy S8 bill of materials (BOM) cost reasonable.

Leaks aside, next week (29 Mar to be precise), we will find out together what audio gear the Galaxy S8 eventually comes with. 

Update (30 Mar 2017)
The AKG earphones will be bundled in the Samsung Galaxy S8 box but can also be purchased separately at USD 99 from April 2017.

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