Google could be about to release its next true wireless earbuds. The so-called Google Pixel Buds A are rumored be launching this year, perhaps even this month.
These new Pixel Buds will presumably improve on the company's last wireless earbuds – in fact, they'll have to if Google wants to compete with popular models like the Apple AirPods Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM3.
While Google is yet to officially confirm the existence of the Pixel Buds A, we’re pretty sure that they’ll be launching soon. In fact, the company itself ‘accidentally’ sent out a marketing email to Google Nest customers that contained an image of the new Pixel Buds with a link to the 'Accessories' section of the Google Store.
That leak was followed by another more recently, after a tweet from the official Android twitter account referred to "the new Pixel Buds A-Series" and "one-tap Bluetooth pairing with the updated Fast Pair experience". The tweet was swiftly taken down, but the stream of leaks in the run up to Google’s annual I/O event in May suggests that a Google Pixel Buds A release date is probably imminent.
Here’s everything we know about the rumored wireless earbuds so far.
Cut to the chase
- What are they? The next true wireless earbuds from Google.
- When will they be released? Probably in 2021.
- How much will they cost? That’s still TBC, but we think less than their predecessors ($179 / £179 / AU$279).
Google Pixel Buds A release date
While we don’t have a confirmed Google Pixel Buds A release date just yet, all the rumors so far are pointing to a 2021 launch – they could even be launched this month.
Tipster Jon Prosser, who has often been proven right in his predictions, alleged that new Google earbuds will launch in April and will be joined soon after by a new Google phone on June 11:
Google stuff:New Pixel Buds coming mid-April. New Google phone scheduled for June 11, 2021. Not sure exactly which one it is just yet. 🤔 🧻🧻🧻🧻🧻 pic.twitter.com/vjOzT4M7nxMarch 5, 2021
Of course, they didn't actually materialize in April, but release date rumors are still coming thick and fast.
Prosser's tweet was swiftly followed by a 9to5Google report that gave us our first clue that the earbuds would be called the Google Pixel Buds A, and also stated that they’ll launch in mid-2021, rather than as part of the 'Made by Google' hardware launch we're expecting later in the year.
Since then, an image of the Google Pixel Buds A was leaked by… Google. The company sent out a marketing email to thousands of Nest customers that included an image of the upcoming earbuds and a link to the 'Accessories' section of the Google Store.
This was seemingly an accidental leak (though there’s always the chance that it was part of marketing ploy by Google), but the fact that the company has images of the buds suggests that a release date is imminent.
As the Pixel A Buds didn’t launch in April, the next feasible release date could be at Google’s annual I/O event, which is taking place on May 18-20.
In previous years, Google's annual developer conference saw the unveiling of new software and hardware like Google Assistant, new Pixel phones, Android OS upgrades, and flashy, short-lived gadgets like Glass and Daydream. This year, we expect to see an Android 12 showcase, the Pixel 5a launch, and it’s entirely possible that the Pixel A Buds will make an appearance, too.
Google Pixel Buds A price
The previous Google Pixel Buds cost $179 / £179 / AU$279, making them fairly expensive for true wireless earbuds – especially as they didn’t exactly impress us with their audio performance or battery life.
So, how much will the Google Pixel Buds A cost?
Well, the rumored name of next generation buds could suggest a lower price than their predecessors, as Google has previously offered more budget-friendly variants of its Pixel phones with the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a.
We’d love to see Google undercut the Apple AirPods, which cost $159 / £159 / AU$249 with the standard charging case – hopefully we won’t have too long to find out whether this will be the case.
Google Pixel Buds A design
The leaked images of the Google Pixel Buds A suggests that the design of the true wireless earbuds won’t deviate too much from that of their predecessors.
The previous Google Pixel Buds are possibly the cutest true wireless earbuds currently available, with a clean, rounded design that looks sleek and modern.
It looks like the newer model will share a very similar look, albeit with new colors to choose from. According to 9to5Google, they'll come in a choice of two colors: white and green. The white model will apparently have an all-white case interior and an all-white bud design, in contrast to the black ear-tips, wings and case interiors seen in the earlier model.
The green variant of the Pixel Buds A will apparently be a darker forest green color than the 'Quite Mint' shade seen with the previous Pixel Buds. The color shading would encompass the gadget as well as the whole case. It's possible that these colors will correspond with the rumored Google Pixel 5a, though there's no confirmation of this yet.
That darker green color seems to have been confirmed by the leaked image included in the Google Nest marketing email.
Google Pixel Buds A features
While we know a fair amount about the design of the new Google Pixel Buds A, information on the features we can expect are thin on the ground.
According to 9to5Google, the Pixel Buds A will also apparently come with touch controls for adjusting your music playback and accessing Google Assistant – a reprisal of one of the few features we really loved from the previous Pixel Buds.
Saying that, there are quite a few upgrades we'd like to see from Google's next earbuds. For starters, we think Google needs to make some firm improvements to the audio performance of the Pixel Buds, which we found to have an aggressive, fatiguing sound, with a weak bass response.
A longer battery life wouldn't go amiss either; the 2020 Pixel Buds come with three hours per charge within the earbuds themselves, with a further 21 hours provided by the charging case.
While a combined 24-hour battery life isn't terrible, that three-hour onboard playtime is pretty dismal compared to other true wireless earbuds on the market (especially at a cost of $179 / £179 / AU$279), and we'd hope that Google has given its upcoming Pixel Buds a decent upgrade in this area.
Of course, if the Pixel Buds A are set to be a pair of cheaper wireless earbuds, we may not see many significant improvements at all. Still, the best budget earbuds of 2021 prove that a low price is no excuse for subpar sound and battery life, and we hope that Google will take some cues from the likes of the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 (Tevi), Cambridge Audio Melomania 1, and Earfun Air Pro with its next buds.
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