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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Why Doesn't Wired Headset Remote Buttons Work on Android?

There seems to be some confusion on wired headsets for Android, as in "why doesn't the remote control" work? Something similar to this:

You can find this in most discount stores, for price of somewhere like $5 to $10 if you buy cheap ones, or they can go for $100+ if you go for fancy brand like Dr. Dre Beatz. But that little microphone bud has like 3 buttons (or maybe just 1). 

And they do NOT work on Android. Wonder why? 

Because that's covered by an Apple patent. Really. Granted in 2011. 

Apple could have been gracious and let everybody use that design, and every cheap headphone maker already do, but no. Apple back then was like "NO YOU CAN'T!"

So Android ended up with a different headphone plug design. The plugs are identical, but the signals passed along are different enough so that the Apple headset won't work on Android plugs... and vice versa.

But there is hope!

And there are a handful of makers who made Android-specific compatible headphones with the Android style control buttons. Klipsch have one called the S4A... and they are currently at about $50 each online. In Radio Shack they are probably in the 80 to 90 range. 

Bose and NUCS also make Android compatible wired headsets.

If you want to shop online, DeGaussLabs have some very good ones. Their "DualDriver" is reputedly very good, sounds as good as Shures that costs twice as much, according to some reports. 

If you are willing to do some experimentation and are handy with soldering iron and electronics, you can build your own by modifying an existing headset through instructions.  I am not aware of any "pass-thru" adapters, though presumably one can be made, but whether any PROFIT can be realized is a different problem.

Most of these has a companion Android app that let you map the buttons to other functions.

Bluetooth buttons are universal. Your Bluetooth headset buttons would work on any device.

Got any more questions on Android headset? Post them in the comments.

I current use either a LG-730 Tone Plus, or a Jlab "Comfort" wired headset. 

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