Google is taking the fight to Apple’s AirPods by introducing a new version of its earbuds—but not until next year.
The tech giant on Tuesday announced plans to release updated Pixel Buds wireless earbuds in spring 2020. The company said that the earbuds will cost $179, or $20 more than Google’s current Pixel Buds and Apple’s AirPods.
Google and others companies including Samsung and Amazon are hoping to make a dent in Apple’s lead in earbuds. And although Google didn’t mention AirPods by name during at an event in New York on Tuesday, it was clear that it had Apple on its mind.
Google said that its new Pixel Buds have been redesigned to be smaller than the previous version with the help of a custom battery inside and so that they have a snugger fit. The company also said it had improved the wireless connectivity so that users could leave their connected phones up to three rooms away or, if outside, as far as 100 yards away, and still get sound.
Google’s earbuds will come with the usual noise canceling. But they also have a new “spatial vent,” or small hole, so that users can still hear what’s around them while they’re wearing earbuds.
Google said that it’s trying to free users from having to fiddle with the volume settings in its Pixel Buds. The new earbuds will have an adaptive sound feature that automatically adjusts volume up or down, depending on ambient noise. When users are on a call, the Pixel Buds will use their “beam-forming microphones” to focus their attention on the user’s voice.
Google didn’t say exactly when Pixel Buds would be released in the spring, but it promised more information in the coming months.
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