In just the past couple of weeks, tech media has been abuzz about a mysterious new set of earbuds from Google. Multiple outlets believe they will be named the Google Pixel Buds A. At this point, Google has remained utterly silent about this device (almost), so everything you read below is subject to change.
That said, there are some pretty good indications that something new is coming. Here’s the scoop— as it exists today, at least.
A Brief History of Google Pixel Buds
Way back in the good old days of 2017, Apple’s AirPods
were new, and true wireless earbuds were still finding their footing. Late in the year, Google released its first in-house earbuds and called them the Google Pixel Buds.
They were OK, at best. At a time where others were innovating with true wireless earbuds, Google released the kind of wireless earbuds that are connected by a wire. (The Verge called them
, not kindly, “neckbuds.”)
Sound quality was pretty good for the type of earbud, but the other features were dodgy. The best features only worked with Pixel phones, and the touch controls were hypersensitive. Frustratingly, the earphones couldn’t tell when they were in or out of ears, so the too-sensitive touch controls remained active when you just held the phones in your hand.
Second Time’s the Charm?
Fast forward to 2020. Google released a new version of the Pixel Buds
. These second-gen Pixel Buds were true wireless earphones with in-ear tips, improving ease of life and audio quality, both. They also included hands-free Google Assistant
and came in a wireless charging case.
The dodgy touch controls are better but not perfect, and it appears that Google opened up some functionality to non-Pixel Android phones.
There are two flaws
to this generation of Google Pixel Buds. First, many users complain of connection problems, with audio dropping out more frequently than is acceptable in a $150+ earphone. There are also some battery oddities, but Google says these are a feature, not a bug.
Another Model Already? Signs Pointing to a New Release
In late March 2021, there started to be some buzz
about Google releasing another model. Some of this buzz started with regulatory filings, and then some tech outlets got ahold of anonymous sources.
But here’s the thing: It hasn’t even been a year since the last model. Would Google really release a replacement for the current Pixel Buds already? Seems unlikely.
On March 30, 9to5Google got some clearer information
from a verified but anonymous source. The new models in the regulatory filings weren’t third-gen Pixel Buds. They were instead a variant that would be called the Pixel Buds A.
Google and the A
Everywhere else that Google appends an a to a product name means a budget-friendly variant. The Pixel 3a and 4a are recent evidence of this trend.
So the expectation at this point, based on 9to5Google’s exclusive source, is that these new Google Pixel Buds are a lower-priced variant of the existing model.
No one knows at this point what exactly that lower price will be, though both $99 and $129 make sense. The second-gen Pixel Buds retail for $179, so there’s a little room to cut and still offer a reasonably priced product.
Also not known: what exactly Google is cutting from the Pixel Buds A to differentiate them from the Pixel Buds. Something has to go, both to save on production costs and to avoid cannibalizing all sales of the Pixel Buds. But until Google makes a direct announcement or there’s another leak, everyone will have to keep wondering about the feature set of the new Pixel Buds variant.
Google Leaks a Color Variant
Just last week, Google sent out a marketing email
that contained a leak related to the Google Pixel Buds A. The company sent out an email blast for its device and subscription services that didn’t formally announce anything new or talk about the Pixel Buds A.
But eagle-eyed readers noticed that the Pixel Buds pictured in the email were a color that you can’t buy today. This leak all but confirms that the Pixel Buds A will be available in a new deep green color.
Whatever the Name and Version, Protect Your Buds with an Extended Warranty
Whatever version of the Pixel Buds you land on, make sure to protect your new earphone purchase with an extended warranty from Upsie
. Earbuds are small and put up with tons of abuse. Accidental damage and drops occur all the time.
But when you protect your earbuds with an Upsie extended warranty, you don’t have to worry about incurring damage. Simply start a claim, pay a small deductible and Upsie will quickly repair or replace your covered headphones.
It couldn’t be simpler! Get Upsie coverage today.
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