Google’s Pixel Buds, first released in 2017, just couldn’t compete with better offerings from dedicated bud manufacturers, and stacked up even more poorly against Apple AirPods. Today, though, Google announced a Pixel Buds update slated for Spring 2020, and if its Made By Google presentation is any indication, the company is intent on making the new version a major technological make-good.
The original Pixel Buds delivered access to Google Assistant, but the implementation was clumsy, requiring tap prompts. The new Buds, though, promise hands-free access to Assistant, letting you ask for walking directions, control your music playback and translate languages (among other tasks) with just a verbal “Hey Google” prompt. Google says the new Buds will include “on-device machine learning” that will be refined as the Buds project develops.
Bluetooth range? It was a problem with the original Pixel Buds, which actually were wired bud to bud. The new Pixel Buds feature a true wireless design, and Google says Bluetooth range will cross three rooms indoors (rather vague) and a fully football field outside (360 feet).
Battery life is rated at five hours, with another 24 hours promised via the new wireless charger, which appears to ditch the frustrating, difficult-to-fully-close design of the first generation product.
As for the buds themselves, Google says the new Pixel Buds will deliver better sound quality, sit flush with one’s ears, and include a “spatial vent” to reduced that “plugged ear feeling.” There’s also a “voice accelerometer” that detects speech through your jawbone and the buds will dynamically adjust volume to ambient noise conditions.