During Google’s event today, the company unveiled a new version of its ill-fated Pixel Buds wireless earbuds. This time around, there’s no wires or awkward storage solutions to figure out. Instead, you get what looks like an experience inspired by Apple’s AirPods.
The new Pixel Buds are truly wireless and come with a case you flick open to reveal the buds. Each earphone is designed with s soft ear tip, a “stabilizer arc” (a.k.a. a tiny wingtip), and a retention curve so they can sit flush with your ear. This creates a stronger seal that Google says helps with bass and highs. The buds also come with microphones and a spatial vent that, in conjunction, help eliminate outside noise. The tech is also used to improve voice pickup during phone calls or when you’re talking to the Google Assistant.
Also aiding in voice detection: a voice accelerometer. This new component of the Pixel Buds allows the headphones to detect speech through the vibrations of your jaw bone. This will help in especially loud environments like parties and windy days outside.
Google says the new Pixel Buds have “long-range Bluetooth connectivity” (whatever that means) and they’ll work with whatever device you want (Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, etc.). They’re sweat and water resistant, and they can be paired to certain devices with “just a single tap.”
As far as battery life goes, Google says the Pixel Buds provide up to five hours of listening on a single charge, while the supplied case can provide up to 24 extra hours of listening. Speaking of which, the case can be wirelessly charged in addition to being charged over USB-C.
Finally, as I mentioned, you can talk to the Google Assistant with the Pixel Buds. Obviously.
Interestingly, Google won’t be shipping these things until spring of 2020. Between now and the time the company released the original Pixel Buds, they had two years to work on them. Why wait until 2020 to ship? We may never know.
Anyway, the new Pixel Buds will come in four colors: Almost Black, Clearly White, Oh So Orange, and Quite Mint. They’ll cost $179 (the same price as AirPods).