Google appears to be readying a new pair of its Pixel Buds, the company’s truly wireless earbuds that compete with the likes of Apple’s AirPods Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds. And this time they’ll come in a refreshed design pattern, if marketing material from Google is to be believed.
Oops — The updated earbuds appeared in an email to customers highlighting features available across Google’s suite of in-house products. Alongside a Nest Hub and Pixel 5 smartphone, the email’s attached image includes a pair of Pixel Buds with dark green accenting throughout the inside of the case.
In the existing lineup, Pixel Buds are available in several colorways including green, but the colors only accent the earbuds themselves, not the interior of the casing.
9to5Google was first to spot the email, and it seems to corroborate earlier reporting from the site that Google is working on an updated pair of Pixel Buds called the “Pixel Buds A” with a new green colorway in tow. The “A” character is a naming convention Google has used to denote more affordable variants of its flagship products.
FCC certification was filed earlier this year under a corporate name that Google has used to register its previous Pixel Buds, with serial numbers matching the earbud line. It’s unknown if the new Pixel Buds will include any other changes besides new colors, but it seems likely as it’s been almost a year since the Pixel Buds 2 were released.
It’s not unusual for Google products to leak into the public before they’re released. Some have speculated that Google surreptitiously reveals products early as a way to gauge interest in what it is developing.
Wireless earbuds — The Pixel Buds 2 received strong reviews when they were released, with strong sound performance, access to the Google Assistant, and a feature that will translate other people’s speaking into your own native tongue in real-time. But the Pixel Buds face tough competition, most notably from Apple’s AirPods, which are the most popular wireless earbuds on the market.
The AirPods benefit from strong performance on iOS devices thanks to Apple’s proprietary W1 chip that ensures the earbuds connect quickly and rarely experience stuttering, a common issue with Bluetooth headphones.
Being first to market, the AirPods have held a sizable advantage for years in key areas like battery life and sound quality. They quickly became one of Apple’s most beloved new products and made people believe that the company was still a master of innovation. Other brands are quickly catching up to Apple’s lead, however, and its AirPods Max over-ear headphones are considered overpriced to some versus the value they add over similar headphones from the competition.