This feels like a foregone conclusion, but it looks like Google is finally ready to make a proper attempt at improving on the Pixel Buds. If you recall, when the Pixel Buds were first announced, we were ecstatic that Google was really taking a swing at making in-house, wireless earbuds. All the hype and promotion that led up to those first Pixel Buds had us absolutely stoked for what we thought would surely be the Pixel users’ answer to Airpods.
And then they actually arrived, and with the lack of ANC (active noise cancellation), constant connectivity issues, and a generally-agreed-upon uncomfortable fit for long periods, the Pixel Buds simply didn’t live up to the hopes and dreams of many. They were followed up by the Pixel Buds A-series, and while that set was a bit more comfortable to wear and didn’t exhibit the connection issues of the first pair, they also ditched one of the best features of the standard Pixel Buds in the process: capacitive gesture controls.
While the Pixel Buds A-series got the price down to $99 and are a solid set of headphones, the lack of swipe gestures on the outer part of the buds, the lack of ANC and the still-existent lag while gaming were all reasons for me to skip on them. While I love how both sets of Pixel Buds connect and interact with my Pixel phone, the other issues simply make them a bad fit for my use cases. And I’d wager that’s the case for many.
Time for an upgrade
There is hope, however, as we’ve heard rumblings that Google has been working hard to make a better wireless earphone by acquiring the talent and patents needed to build them. Google tends to be a beta company after all, and they usually ship hardware in the first iteration that may or may not be ready for prime time. The Pixel Buds were definitely a solid example of this and the news that Google is getting talented engineers and necessary patents to build some really great earbuds makes me feel like they might just pull it off this time around.
According to noted leaker Jon Prosser, Google’s Pixel Buds Pro are “coming soon.” Does this mean Google-I/O-soon or fall-hardware-event soon? Tough to tell at this point, but I suppose there’s a chance we could see them at Google’s conference next week. To be fair, Google I/O isn’t known as a big hardware event, so with all the rumors swirling of the Pixel 6a, Pixel Watch and perhaps a new Nest Hub, I feel like we’re getting to the point where some of this hardware is going to need to wait for a hardware-related event to actually arrive.
Other than this tweet and what we knew prior, there’s not a ton more to share at this time. For me, this latest tweet was exciting to see simply because the newly-acquired talent and patents were just reported on back in March of this year. In my head that meant we might see an actual product come from these moves late in 2022 or some time in 2023. As it turns out, we may be looking at some new Pixel Buds far sooner than we thought.