Executive Briefing

Why Google’s Pixel Buds matter

And Amazon’s attempt at AirPods. And maybe even Microsoft’s.

Photos courtesy Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google

This week, Google announced a bunch of new hardware devices, notably the Pixel 4 phone and more of its Nest home gadgets. It also showed off its first real competitor to Apple’s AirPods wireless earbuds, called Pixel Buds.

Like AirPods, Pixel Buds are tiny, wireless earpieces that hook up to your smartphone, computer, etc., and live in a small case that also charges them. They have a soft eartip and a “stabilizer arc” that’s supposed to keep them comfortably in your ear.

Unlike Apple’s current AirPods, there’s no stem hanging down from your ear — Pixel Buds just look like round, plastic dots protruding a bit from your head. You can watch Google’s presentation here, or a YouTube commercial for them here.

Pixel Buds won’t be available until next year, and journalists at Google’s event didn’t even get to try functional prototypes. So we have no idea if they’re any good or not, or even as real as Google says they are.

But strategically, Pixel Buds are important — and worth keeping a close eye on.

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

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