Google revealed its new Pixel Buds Pro hearables this week, the first in the line to offer Active Noise Cancellation as part of the Android and Pixel smartphone-centered features. That includes a custom audio chip running software developed by Google specifically for the device, which serves as a $200 premium option compared to the entry-level $100 Pixel Buds A-Series released last year.
Pixel Buds Pro
The ‘Pro’ naming convention Google chose seems deliberately designed to evoke thoughts of the rival Apple Airpods Pro. That would fit with the shared features and comparable price points relative to the less expensive earbuds produced by the respective tech giants. The most obvious similarity is the ANC, which works to negate any other sound before it reaches the eardrum. The proprietary Silent Seal feature adapts the eartips to reduce incoming sound, with built-in ear canal pressure sensors that inform the earbuds when they need to compensate for outside air pressure. When audio content is played, the earbuds will adjust the sound balance to fit the volume.
Google is also planning to augment the earbuds with Spatial Audio software to simulate a more three-dimensional soundscape for watching movies and TV shows. The Pixel Buds Pro earbuds have the usual hands-free Google Assistant access. The voice assistant can provide walking directions or real-time translations between 40 languages. There’s also a new multipoint pairing feature to simplify switching between devices. The Google Pixel Buds Pro will be available for pre-order on July 21.
“Pixel Bud Pros are built to work great across our full Pixel portfolio and with other Android phones, and they’re packed with all the helpfulness and smarts you expect from Google,” product manager Nidhi Rathi explained in a blog post. “If you end a video call on your laptop to head out on a walk and listen to music, you won’t need to fumble around with Bluetooth menus. With Multipoint connectivity, Pixel Buds Pro can automatically switch between your previously paired Bluetooth devices — including laptops, tablets, TVs, and Android and iOS phones. Once you’re on that walk, Pixel Buds Pro will help you place clear calls even if it’s loud and windy outside. And of course, Google Assistant is there to give you hands-free help.”
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