Samsung may have put the final nail in the 3.5-millimeter minijack’s coffin, but there’s a tiny band of small manufacturers that are resisting what seems inevitable. The latest one: Vivo.The Chinese manufacturer is known for its experimental flagship phones. In fact, I would say that Vivo is perhaps the company that takes more risks that anyone else. It introduced pop-up cameras and in-display fingerprint scanners for the first time, adopted dual-screen phones, and made this completely seamless phone with a sound-emitting vibrating display with no ports whatsoever. Which is why the announcement of a 3.5-millimeter jack in the upcoming Vivo NEX 3 flagship is quite shocking. According to a post by Vivo NEX product manager, “the 3.5-mm headphone jack will be in the future NEX flagship.”The phone — which you can see in sketches above — will also have a display with a tight curve on the sides. And, from the look of it, it may have an in-display or a pop-up selfie camera. Check out the glass Vivo will use, which shows no punch holes or water drops.RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU…logoCreated with Sketch. Tech This Out: New Nintendo Switch Battery, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, iPhone 11 LaunchMore VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpTech This Out – Warner Streaming Service, Galaxy Note Renders And Nintendo Switch Lite02:14OffAutomated Captions – en-USLive00:0003:1603:16 (Image credit: Vivo)Why is the vanguardist Vivo adding a technology to a flagship that has been effectively deprecated by the top 5 manufacturers in the world — Samsung, Huawei, Apple, Xiaomi, and Oppo? Even Sony got rid of it. Perhaps small manufacturers with single digit market shares are looking for ways to distinguish their flagships from the Big Five’s. Like LG and its upcoming LG G8x ThinQ, the Asus Zenfone 6Z or this future Vivo NEX. It may not be that, but that seems like a plausible answer. And, while I don’t know how long this is going to last, it’s good that there are still options available for people who want a flagship with a 3.5-mm minijack.The Best Phones that Still Have a Headphone Jack
Wearables TechCon in San Jose this week is playing host to vibrant discussions of the challenges and opportunities in wearable devices and the Internet of Things. From the Apple Watch to the Fitbit, developers were on hand to discuss the next generation of wearable technology.(BZ Media, the publisher of SD Times, produces Wearables TechCon.)One of the biggest challenges for wearable technology developers is the lengthy development cycle. Brady Forrest, director of the Highway1 hardware startup accelerator, discussed the iterative process of building hardware in his keynote address.(Related: What makes wearables work for consumers)In the past, hardware development was a difficult task in its own right, even before the product entered manufacturing or the channel. Today, however, “Anyone can prototype in hardware,” said Forrest. “Prototyping is solved, thanks to Arduino. Getting to manufacture and retail is a completely different story.”Forrest went on to detail the stories of three different hardware startups. Chief among them was Pebble, which seemingly raised US$10 million on Kickstarter out of the blue. In fact, said Forrest, the Pebble team began by building a smartwatch for BlackBerry, which did not sell at all. Two more smartwatch revisions were to be manufactured before Pebble essentially gave up and used Kickstarter as a last-ditch effort to save the product.While Pebble is a success now, it almost wasn’t, thanks to the dangers of manufacturing a device without first having some form of user validation. That validation can be found through prototyping and distributing small amounts of the devices to test users. Forrest said that when a prototype is lost because the test user refuses to give it back, this is an indication of success. He also advocated for numerous iterations of the prototyping and testing cycle before approaching the manufacturing process.Chatter boxes and secure boxesWearable devices still have hurdles to overcome in the marketplace, however. Myriam Joire, editor-in-chief of Tnkgrl Mobile (and a mobile technology consultant), said that in order for wearable devices to truly break out, other supplemental technologies need to become more usable and smarter.Specifically, she said, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Now and Microsoft’s Cortana are important elements in the development of a wearable device interface. This is particularly important for smartwatches, she added.“That stuff is where wearables benefit the most: being able to basically initiate some contextual conversation with some sort of server on the back end and get some useful data out of it when you don’t have your phone,” said Joire. “You’re just trying to find something simple out: there is a use case where you can use a smartwatch for simple queries like voice commands, or you can have the choice of replies and actions on notifications, and have those be centered around your location, your calendar, where you are, who you’re with, which is another thing they haven’t done yet. Why isn’t there a way to know we’re near each other so we can get notifications?”Another major challenge for wearables makers is security. Gary Davis, vice president and chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security, gave a keynote speech detailing some of the potential security risks of wearable and mobile devices.Davis referenced a research study performed by HP in 2015. “This study HP did last year looked at the Top 10 devices deployed in the home,” he said. “On average, those devices had 25 vulnerabilities each. This is the kind of stuff that makes us nervous. They weren’t requiring secure communications; a lot of the sites they talk to were filled with all sorts of vulnerabilities and bad things. The device manufacturers today are focusing so intently on getting these devices to market they are forgoing a lot of security practices in order to get to market.”Davis detailed some of the security research he’s done in the past, which included compromising implanted insulin pumps via wireless. He said that, when healthcare enters the picture, wearable device security becomes a life-or-death issue.