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Google touts Babel Fish-esque in-ear real-time translators. And the usual computer stuff

Anonymous Coward

No audio jack

Waterproof is great, but here's the question to ask yourself: how often do I use my phone in the pool, and how often do I use my earphones/earbuds?

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Re: No audio jack

Personally I'd love to be able to take my phone jogging in the rain without worrying about it getting wet. My bluetooth sports headset is already waterproof...

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Re: No audio jack

If they can waterproof the USB-C, I see no reason they can't do it to a headphone jack.

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Re: No audio jack

Don't call me...

No, you've heard that one too many times already.

Er, nice-looking phones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No audio jack

My wife was seriously thinking of abandoning Apple when they dropped the headphone jack from their flagship devices, but bought a "budget" (ho ho) iphone SE when she discovered they still had a 3.5mm audio jack.

Google, please take note. I'm an Android user, and I want a 3.5mm headphone jack too.

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Re: No audio jack

Also, how often do I need to charge the phone at the same time as I'm listening to something?

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Re: No audio jack

USB-C and bluetooth headphones are the future. Personally I'm going to stick with wired headphones because they always work. I did have a pair of bluetooth headphones but I didn't use them for about 2 months and when I tried to recharge them, they wouldn't so I had to throw them away.

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Mushroom

Re: No audio jack

@ jaywin "If they can waterproof the USB-C, I see no reason they can't do it to a headphone jack."

Exactly. Google and Apple (to name two) are massive companies worth billions and with billions in the bank. I can't believe for a second that they couldn't develop, or find someone who could develop, a 3.5mm jack with suitable water resistance if it can be done for the USB-C/Lightning ports. I accept omitting the 3.5mm jack means they have more flexibility on device thickness and have a little more space inside the unit, but, as said by another in this thread, people are more likely to use their 3.5mm ear buds than go swimming with their phone. Also there aren't many people complaining their phone ought to be another mm thinner. This is all about pulling people further into the walled gardens and ensuring they cannot use their existing accessories while in there.

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Holmes

Re: No audio jack

Waterproof is great, but here's the question to ask yourself: how often do I use my phone in the pool, and how often do I use my earphones/earbuds?

When I was like 8 years old (ie damned near 40 bloody years ago!) I had a waterproof radio that had a headphone jack. The jack was sealed, basically a standard one coated in rubbed IIRC. This was in the '80s. Surely firms with the tech knowhow that Google has must have someone who can figure that out. If not, Google, I am currently seeking work and I can design lots of trivially simple ways for you to waterproof stuff!

It really is trivially easy to do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No audio jack

If you ever drop your non waterproof phone in a urinal you will appreciate the dilemma of a phone that can't survive a thorough wash afterwards.

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Re: No audio jack

I have a Samsung phone (XCover4) that has removable battery, headphone jack, micro usb and it's IP68. Yes it might be easier to make the phone waterproof without the headphone jack but it sounds (to me) like you've wimped out if you do.

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Facepalm

Re: No audio jack

paulf wrote: I accept omitting the 3.5mm jack means they have more flexibility on device thickness and have a little more space inside the unit,

There is always the option of using a 2.5mm jack, which became common when pre-touchscreen phones got really small. All existing headphones will work with an inexpensive adapter that can remain attached to the headphones.

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Re: No audio jack

"If they can waterproof the USB-C, I see no reason they can't do it to a headphone jack."

It's nothing to do with waterproofing, despite El Reg constantly bringing it up. There are already a variety of devices around that manage to be waterproof despite having open 3.5mm sockets. If anything, it's much easier than the USB socket - the Xperia Z1 had a rubber seal for the USB, but the 3.5mm socket was just open (just a shame about the shit build quality that meant the glass panels peeled off the front and back; the sockets were the only parts that actually stayed waterproof).

Getting rid of headphone sockets is done for precisely one reason - cost. It's one less part that needs designing and buying, and takes up space that makes fitting the rest of the internals more difficult. The move is happening now because, presumably, it's finally reached the point where bluetooth speakers are popular enough anyway that the cost savings more than offset any lost sales.

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Re: No audio jack

"The move is happening now because, presumably, it's finally reached the point where bluetooth speakers are popular enough anyway that the cost savings more than offset any lost sales."

So basically they reckon they can do without me. Well, the feeling is mutual.

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Re: No audio jack

Sony manage it with their Experia phones, so waterproofing shouldn't be an excuse to remove a perfectly useful piece of kit.

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Re: No audio jack

What I'm waiting for here is bluetooth headphones that can be charged from the phone via USB-C power transfer. Seems an obvious thing to be able to do....

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Coat

Re: No audio jack

If I drop the phone in a Urinal, I don't think I want to use it afterwards...

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Facepalm

Re: No audio jack

@AC "If you ever drop your non waterproof phone in a urinal"

Why are you using your phone while standing at a urinal? Perhaps if you were concentrating on the, ahem, task in hand you wouldn't have dropped the phone?

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Meh

Re: No audio jack

@ druck "There is always the option of using a 2.5mm jack,"

True, but it takes us straight back to the same problem - having to use an adaptor to get standard 3.5mm kit to work with it. Existing headphones should work with a USB-C/Lightning to 3.5mm jack adaptor too. The pain is having to use an adaptor at all.

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Alert

Re: No audio jack

@ Cuddles "Getting rid of headphone sockets is done for precisely one reason - cost."

I don't believe for one second a headphone jack that costs, what, two bucks in parts and assembly costs (lets say 3 bucks if you add in design cost shared across millions of devices) is going to make any tangible difference on a handset costing £800-£1000. Even if they did put up the price by a tenner to compensate it wouldn't matter - people buying flagship phones aren't usually that price conscious, hence "Cupertino Idiot-tax operation".

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Holmes

Re: No audio jack

If you ever drop your non waterproof phone in a urinal you will appreciate the dilemma of a phone that can't survive a thorough wash afterwards.

If I ever drop my phone in the urinal, I will appreciate the joy of buying the cheapest phones I can find, and leave it there! :)

I had a friend who went through a period of dropping phones in toilets, very expensive as the phones didn't survive. Taught him 2 simple tricks to stop that. 1) don't be on the phone (and perhaps don't take it in with you), 2) put it in a closed pocket that has a zip or other fastener. True, with some guys they may want to do some "left handed surfing" on their phone while in the bog, but that's their problem if they loose control of things. If they can't handle things safely they should learn not to play with them in there!

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Re: No audio jack

Every time I'm on a long trip. I'd like to watch movies, listen to music, and not arrive with a dead battery.

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Re: No audio jack

Waterproof 3.5mm?

Ahem Google.

https://www.petervis.com/walkmans/Sony_WM-B52/Sony_WM-B52.html

Guess that's what you get when you employ kids who like to sit on bean bags all day.

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Thumb Up

Well Done, Google, From The Large Unilingual Traveller Road Warriors Gang

In VietNam almost every cab / taxi has a dash-mounted Android device that translates between English and Tieng Viet. Without the Google translation facility life would be much harder.

Now I will buy a Chinese smartphone with Android N software when the Babel earbuds go on sale.

Thank you, Google. (But I still use DuckDuckGo)

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Re: Well Done, Google, From The Large Unilingual Traveller Road Warriors Gang

"In VietNam almost every cab / taxi has a dash-mounted Android device that translates between English and Tieng Viet. Without the Google translation facility life would be much harder."

This is an excellent idea and as a use for a native speaker trying to understand / speak foreign languages like you've described, full kudos for whoever first thought of it.

However I get the impression that the standard use scenario envisaged will involve a foreign language speaker using the phone to translate the native language to what ever language they speak, for example an English speaker going to Japan and using the phone to translate Japanese into English. Isn't this going to fall foul of the problem associated with all internet based technologies, it'll cost a fortune in roaming data costs?

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Headmaster

Re: Well Done, Google, From The Large Unilingual Traveller Road Warriors Gang

I hope it does a better job than the translation between German and English. I was tight for time and thought I'd bung some English text through Translate to save time...

After falling off my seat laughing, I finally translated it by hand.

One of the problems that Translate has is formal English. It seems to work better with American slang than proper English. Terms like "do not" translated into "do this", whereas "don't" translated properly. I put in a bunch of changes at the time and it seems that Translate is now better, but I still wouldn't trust it with anything important or where a misunderstanding could be dangerous.

Having it translate things like "do not open the case, high voltage inside" being translated into "open the case, high voltage inside" are funny at first glance, but dangerous.

Hilarious on the other hand was "do not open the case, no user servicable parts inside", which ended up with the German equivalent of "open the case, no parts inside"!

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Re: Well Done, Google, From The Large Unilingual Traveller Road Warriors Gang @big_D

When did you try this test?

Today Google gives: Öffnen Sie nicht den Fall, keine benutzerfreundlichen Teile im Inneren, which at least keeps the proper negatives, even though the parts switch from being user-serviceable to user-friendly.

So: same conclusion — don't trust — but it's clear that they continue to work on it.

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Re: Well Done, Google, From The Large Unilingual Traveller Road Warriors Gang

Excellent! Now when a foreign person doesn't understand what we are saying, simply repeating what was said before only louder and more slowly might actually work.

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Re: Well Done, Google, From The Large Unilingual Traveller Road Warriors Gang @big_D

I did post corrections to the sample I gave, although not what you got. It is improving, but these sorts of problems seem all to common, at least in English <-> German. I have worked as a translator for an agency and there are good tools that you can use for translation, like Leo, Linguee etc. but the actual translation sites are all pretty poor.

They might be okay for getting directions or simple sentences, but you shouldn't rely on them for anything important.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well Done, Google, From The Large Unilingual Traveller Road Warriors Gang

formal english may have not been correctly translated whenever you tryed it, but now it correctly translates your phrase to "öffnen Sie nicht den Fall, Hochspannung innen"

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Coat

It's a dead giveaway, isn't it

No, it appears you have to buy them separately.

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Happy

Given the sick sense of humor at Google you just know that all translations are going to come through in the voice of Arthur Dent.

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Coat

The late Dent Arthur Dent

Given the sick sense of humor at Google you just know that all translations are going to come through in the voice of Arthur Dent.

That would make the service totally utterly awesome!

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I for One would prefer them actually using the voice of Peter Geoffrey Francis Jones.... For obvious reasons.

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What about the late James Alexander Gordon?

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I would have thought Marvin The Paranoid Android would have been a better voice to use

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I suspect device owners want to keep their Devices nice, and happily chugging along. Poor 'ol Marvin would cause them to permabrick themselves.

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Megaphone

For the hard of hearing, I would put forward Brian Blessed

(actually, Brian wouldn't need no steenking megaphone)

I suddenly have this vision of smoke issuing from the earbuds. Can't think why

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Anonymous Coward

Google - don't talk to me about Google!

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Unhappy

"Marvin The Paranoid Android would have been a better voice to use"

sadly, his voice actor [in the movie, anyway] is no longer available for that role...

(otherwise, it'd be AWESOME!)

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Anonymous Coward

My Hovercraft is full of eels.

Hungarian Inflamatory Phrasebook Sketch

' I quote an example. The Hungarian phrase meaning "Can you direct me to the station?" is translated by the English phrase, "Please fondle my bum."'

It's a Google Product, so obligatory "What could possibly go wrong ? ".

But, seriously, take one step back, and realise that this is just another Stasi Wet Dream bugging device - there has to be a central server everything goes back and is recorded (for ever).

... and who's to say that it's not recording all the time ?

Eyes and Ears.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: My Hovercraft is full of eels.

and by the time the appropriate recording has been retrieved, the terrorist with a shopping list (google, take me to the nearest diy store, then the supermarket, and on the way back let's take a tour of that army base) will have been long GONE! OMG, we've got to do something about it! ;)

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Re: My Hovercraft is full of eels.

But, seriously, take one step back, and realise that this is just another Stasi Wet Dream bugging device - there has to be a central server everything goes back and is recorded (for ever).

Never saw it like that! Storing audio takes a lot of space, storing text takes very little. If you can build voice recognition systems that can do a "stand up in court" level of converting speech to text.

Of course, text loses all sorts of information like tone and inflection (and background noises), and people tend to replace those with what they imagine fits.

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Facepalm

Re: My Hovercraft is full of eels.

You still think they are storing audio/text? At this point they can just store the meta data... and presume from that. ;)

(As a note, look at Youtube content ID or the current voice to text, the system does not process images/audio etc the same as a human... well, not until you get to the neuron level.)

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Bronze badge

If I am squeezing the sides of the device

its because I am trying to choke the assistant to death, not request its presence

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It looks like you're squeezing your phone.

Would you like help?

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Sure thing Clippy. Just let me unbend you into a U shaped bit of wire. So as to gauge the Assistants virtual eyes out.

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It looks like you are trying to interchange two words of totally different meaning but similar spelling.

Would you like kelp?

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Headmaster

"So as to gauge the Assistants virtual eyes out."

that'd be 'gouge'. but yours is funnier. Or is there a correct UK spelling that uses 'a' that I'm unaware of?

/me stares at an eye-gouging gauge

found this, too: http://grammarist.com/spelling/gage-gauge-and-gouge/

again, yours was funnier

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No delete here?

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