New Google Pixel Buds could be cheaper than the Apple AirPods

pixel buds 2
Google Pixel Buds (Image credit: Google)

More rumors surrounding the next Google Pixel Buds have emerged, and they could be a cheaper alternative to the Apple AirPods

According to 9to5Google, the new wireless earbuds will be called the Google Pixel Buds A, and will launch in mid-2021, rather than as part of the Made by Google hardware launch we're expecting later in the year.

We had previously heard reports that the next Google Pixel Buds would launch in April, after tipster Jon Prosser asserted they would be released ahead of a new Pixel phone in June.

The name of these new 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

The previous Google Pixel Buds cost $179 / £179 / AU$279, which is more expensive than the Apple AirPods and many other true wireless earbuds on the market. 

For now, there's little information on the features we might see from the Google Pixel Buds A. 

9to5Google says that 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. 

According to the report, the green variant of the Pixel Buds A will 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.

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.

What we want to see

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 with its next buds.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.