Google gets serious about audio with the Pixel Buds Pro

Alongside all the juicy details of the Pixel 6a and a vaguer introduction to the intricacies of the Pixel Watch, Google’s Rick Osterloh used the Google I/O developer conference to introduce us to one more imminent bit of hardware: Pixel Buds Pro.

The Pixel Buds Pro are true wireless earphones with their own charging carry case as popularised by Galaxy Buds and AirPods. These represent an exciting first for Google, however, as they introduce active noise cancellation (ANC) for the first time.

This, Osterloh says, has been a “super hard problem” to fix, but he’s happy with Google’s solution, which involves a new custom audio processor with six cores and a neural processing engine that can identify sounds from the outside in real time and effectively suppress them.

On top of this, given peoples’ ears aren’t of a uniform size, Google is tackling the issue of gaps letting sound in with something it calls “silent seal technology”. And if you use the built-in speakers for calls whether you’re at home or out and about, the noise suppression algorithms will allow your “voice to be clear, no matter where you are.”

Like past Pixel Buds, Google Assistant will be built in, letting you ask the virtual assistant for directions of real-time translation of 40 different languages. More excitingly, Pixel Buds Pro will support multipoint connectivity, allowing them to seamlessly jump between “compatible phones, tablets and TVs.”

We’re promised up to 11 hours of battery life (or seven with ANC enabled), and Google says that spatial audio will be added later in the year — although the word is that this will only be for Pixel handsets.

Pixel Buds Pro will launch in four colours alongside the Pixel 6a on July 28, and will set you back £179. Pre orders open on July 21.

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