When I wrote last week that Google may be working on new Pixel Buds, I really hoped that they wouldn’t suck this time around. Since their inception, I’ve had nothing but problems, even after replacing my hardware several times. As much as I wanted to fall in love with them for their stylish design, fantastic fit, and Star Trek-style communication built-in, I couldn’t. I told myself that Google would have to do a lot of work to reduce the cut-outs and lag if I were to buy into the next iteration of them, and sure enough, we found out via an FCC filing that what looks to be a new pair of Buds may be on their way with better power management to reduce such things.
To add to the flame of desire, we’re now hearing that Google may have acquired a 3D audio company named Dysonics back in December and that it may be working to integrate some of its patented technology into the new Pixel Buds A. According to Janko Roettgers over at Protocol, the Dysonics acquisition was not exactly directly confirmed by Google, but you can clearly see via the USPTO filing that Google has acquired the Dysonics trademark, so my guess is that they’re waiting to go public with an actual announcement upon releasing whatever it is they’re working on.
To be fair, the Pixel Buds A are just an educated guess. The documents mentioned above list several patents for binaural sound conversion, spatial awareness using positional sensors and virtual acoustic modeling, and more. This basically just means 3D spatial audio. If Google is going to use this technology, I imagine it’s going to be in something like the new Pixel Buds. If that’s the case, then these new buds could end up being fairly competitive and interesting.
They’ll basically imitate the effect of being surrounded by audio from all directions using built-in sensors when in reality the sound is just coming from two places – your left and right ear. With all of that information on the table, the ‘A’ branding could also point to a pretty nice price for these unique innovations. While 3D audio is nothing new, having been created in the 90s, it is becoming more popular, and I can see Google adding this to their hardware.
Several Dysonics employees like Akshay Cadambi and Robert Dalton Jr. have also swapped their employment listings on LinkedIn over to ‘Google’ and their job descriptions now read that they’re working on ‘Audio hardware’, and ‘audio algorithms for a variety of Google’s hardware products’. These changes occurred in January of this year, just one month after Google signed the paperwork.
Can the Pixel Buds A compete with Apple’s Airpods, or will this technology be used for a future iteration of their mainline earbuds? With the LinkedIn profiles of these Dysonics employees listing ‘a variety of Google’s hardware products’ as the target of their hard work, does this mean that they could also be working on Nest hardware like the Home or the Mini? Will Google stick with the ‘A’ branding and make mid-range Buds that feature high-end features? It’s worked out for them on Pixel phones and their Nest devices, so I see that being a possibility.
Google’s strong suit is not going toe to toe with Apple on pricing, but rather it’s providing a unique and (most often) quality experience to the large middle consumer base at an affordable price. Let us know in the comments if you’re getting more interested in the Pixel Buds A with each interesting piece of information that we dig up, or if they’re just a pass for you.