There's no shortage of wireless earbuds around at the moment, and Google is about to add another pair to the fray. Its next pair is said to be called the Google Pixel Buds A-Series, and could launch very soon indeed.
So what can we expect from the third-generation Pixel Buds? Can the Pixel Buds 3 beat the likes of the Sony WF-1000XM3 and Cambridge Audio Melomania 1? And will they cost less than the Apple AirPods? Let's delve into the rumour mill and see what's what.
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Google Pixel Buds A-Series: release date
It's been a year since Google launched its second-generation Pixel Buds, prompting the belief that a third-generation model is waiting in the wings. And, based on what's dropped online, it does seem like a Pixel Buds 3 launch is imminent.
In March, Google accidentally sent out a marketing email to Nest customers featuring its as-yet-unannounced Pixel Buds. D'oh. The new pair were pictured with a new green colour scheme, and were listed in the Accessories section of the Google Store.
Google followed up with another leak on 5th May 'announcing' the "Pixel Buds A-Series". The Twitter post, which was quickly deleted, appeared to came from the official @Android account and seemed to confirm the 'A-Series' moniker.
Was it another slip-up... or a deliberate tease? We'll never know but it now seems likely that Google will announce next Pixel Buds sooner rather than later. Could the Google I/O developer conference, scheduled for 18-20th May 2021, serve as the big announcement?
Google Pixel Buds A-Series: price
How much will the third-generation Google Pixel Buds cost? The original Pixel Buds were £159 when they touched down in 2017, while the Pixel Buds 2 cost £179 ($179/AU$279). But the Pixel Buds 3 could be significantly cheaper according to one online leaker. There's been no mention of a specific amount, but it would make sense for next Pixel Buds to cost around £125/$125/AU$225 or less. Could they even come in under £100/$100/AU$180?
The same source claims they will be called Google Pixel Buds A ("A-Series" seems to be most likely, if the recent Google leak is legit). Google uses the 'A' naming convention for its budget smartphones like the Google Pixel 4a (though here it's a lower case 'a'). If that name is correct, we could be looking at a pair of true wireless earbuds that undercut the Apple AirPods' price of £159 ($159/AU$249). Tempting.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series: design
The Pixel Buds have evolved over the years. The originals had a cord connecting the earbuds behind the neck, but last year Google snipped this and went with a pair of true wireless earbuds. This year could see a couple of extra tweaks to their design.
One of the main changes will be a new colour scheme. The upcoming Pixel Buds A-Series will reportedly come in white and a new green colourway, which should be slightly darker than the "Quite Mint" finish that launched for the Pixel Buds 2.
The white model will have an all-white case and buds, while the green should boast black ear tips, wings and case interior.
The overall look appears very similar to last year's model, but that doesn't mean the features and tech inside the earbuds won't change.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series: features
Despite the leaks mentioned above, there isn't much to go on in terms of the actual specifications of the Pixel Buds A-Series.
The current Pixel Buds offer Google smarts, including voice controls, touch controls and impressive real-time language translation. There's also an adaptive sound feature that automatically adjusts the volume as you move between quiet and noisy environments.
Battery life of the Pixel Buds 2 is a little modest, at five hours, but the bundled charging case boosts that to a very respectable 24 hours (on a par with the Apple AirPods). A 10-minute charge in the case delivers up to two hours of listening time and up to one hour of talk time, too.
IPX4 certification means they'll survive water splashes but not being submerged in the drink.
A recent leak suggests that the third generation A-Series buds will be "available on Android 6.0+" and will feature "fast Bluetooth pairing". That means you could be able to auto-pair the buds with an Android phone with a quick tap (no need to download an app).
Will Google be able to include all these features while reducing the price and delivering excellent sound quality? Fingers crossed...
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