Revealed via a source to 9to5 Google yesterday, it looks like the rumored Pixel Buds successor is definitely coming soon and the pair will go by the name Pixel Buds A. While some things are still unknown about these upcoming earbuds, a few details were shared regarding the new colors and some of the existing features we currently have with Google’s Pixel Buds that will be sticking around.
First up, the buds will come in an all-white and an all-green colorway and these colors will reportedly carry over to all parts of the earbuds and case. Unlike the current models where the inside of the earbuds and case is black, these new Pixel Buds will be color matched from top to bottom. The green color is said to deviate from the mint color on the current Pixel Buds and will go for a darker, more forest green this time around.
Additionally, it is reported that the new Pixel Buds A will also have the same access to Google Assistant and touch-driven controls as the current model. With the FCC listing giving us an inclination that these buds will arrive around the middle of this year, it’s fair to assume that they would launch in unison with the upcoming Pixel 5a in the same time frame. With the “A” branding apparently on board, that would make a whole lot of sense.
Let’s talk about Google’s “A” naming
Only used in the more-affordable line of Pixel phones, Google’s “A” naming system has been reserved to denote a scaled-down, pared-back approach to Google’s existing hardware. Appending “A” to the end of the name of these new Pixel Buds tells me that there will be some trade-offs expected, but I’m not really sure where those will come from. If the touch controls, charging case and access to the Google Assistant remain, I’m not sure what gets changed this time around to cut costs.
I’d assume the Pixel Buds A won’t have wireless charging, but I really hope Google doesn’t dumb-down the actual drivers inside the earbuds. The Pixel Buds sounded great, but they didn’t exactly deliver an award-winning audio experience, either. I don’t know that Google has any room to cut corners, there. Apart from that, the only other thing would be cheapening the build materials a bit, and maybe they can do that without sacrificing the overall feel. The Pixel A phones have always been solid-feeling even though the build materials are less expensive, so there’s hope they can pull it off.
What I think Google absolutely cannot afford this time around is the connection issues that have plagued the original Pixel Buds. They’ve never fully owned that problem, but it doesn’t take much looking around on the web to find loads of complaints citing dropped connections, stuttering music, and poor range. For all they got right, connectivity is a part of the wireless earbud experience you can’t miss and Google missed for sure. Additionally, gaming was pretty terrible as well on the last Pixel Buds due to some pretty substantial lag that isn’t present in competitors like the AirPods Pro, so it would be really great if we could get that fixed up this time around, too.
I’m hopeful the Pixel Buds A keep the Google feel, remedy the issues present in their predecessors and manage to bring the price down a bit, too. After all, the “A” name always means a far more competitive price will follow, so I’m really hoping for something closer to $99 this time around. I suppose we’ll know soon enough, right?