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Friday, September 24, 2021

Google Trolls Apple (and Itself) With Ad Hailing Headphone Jack in Pixel 5a

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A new ad from Google would like you to believe the Pixel 5a with 5G is the greatest gift to mankind. That’s because the smartphone contains a rather mundane, but increasingly rare feature: the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The two-minute video ad, released today, is a tongue-in-cheek spot full of pretentious language and hyperbole—like comparing the headphone jack on the Pixel 5a to a black hole.

It seems to parody Apple, which dropped the headphone jack from its own smartphones beginning with the iPhone 7. The Google ad’s narrator speaks in a British accent that sounds similar to former Apple designer Jony Ive, a man well-known for hyping up Apple products with slick language.  

According to the video, Google “reimagined” the headphone jack on the Pixel 5a by using the finest materials, and ensuring it creates a “satisfying click” the moment you connect a pair of earbuds into the device. 

The feature is so good it’s like a “black hole with the gravitational pull of a trillion collapsed stars,” the voiceover says ecstatically. The same headphone jack is also “capable of transporting us to fantastic, alternative, oral dimensions.”

The video is a sarcastic exercise in how over-the-top marketing and fancy language can elevate even the most mundane feature to the stratosphere. According to the ad’s narrator, the headphone jack on the Pixel 5a marks “a glorious achievement that draws from our past as it propels us into the future.”

But the ad is also a self-own. Even Google’s past Pixel phones, including the Pixel 5, dropped the headphone jack. Instead, the whole industry has spent the last several years pushing people to adopt and buy Bluetooth earbuds, despite complaints from consumers. However, Google didn’t eliminate the headphone jack entirely from its phone line. The company has maintained the feature with the mid-range Pixel 3a, Pixel 4a, and now 5a devices.

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