The Google Pixel 2 is already being touted as the 'next big competitor' to the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Within is slew of recent announcements, Google also launched Google Pixel Buds. They're similar to the iPhone-specific AirPod headphones with a few cool adjustments -- the biggest one being the ability to live translate up to 40 different languages.
However, as with Apple products, these Google Pixel Buds work 'best' when paired with the Google Pixel 2 (even though some reports have noted that they could be used with any Android phone). The headphones rely on Google's AI-run Google Assistant.
If this rapid-translation idea sounds familiar, it's because it's not exclusive to Google. In May, a German startup created headphones called Dash Pro. Those nearly $500 headphones paired with the iTranslate app and could also translate over 40 languages. In 2016, there was the viral Waverly Labs earpiece. (You probably remember this video that was shared hundreds of thousands of times.)
As of this writing, the real-time translation aspect remains the biggest selling point for the Pixel Bud and its marketing. However, why would Google bother trying to sell people on technology that had been successful years prior? Simple: Google can make those headphones cheaper and more accessible.
Other Key Features
Unlike the Apple AirPods, the Pixel Buds aren't truly wireless. They're similar to popular Bluetooth-connected running headphones or other athletic-tailored earbuds. The connection cord is shorter and it lacks the control tab similarly styled headphones need. However, the Pixel Buds don't auto-detect when they're in a user's ear like AirPods do.
Google's biggest selling point for these headphones seems to be practicality. The first key to that is in the earbud styling itself. They're not in-ear headphones and thus don't nestle into the ear canal like Apple AirPods and similar earbuds. They sit atop the outer ear and are held in place by a loop in the cord. Wearers simply adjust the cord to fit the desired length and pop them on.
Product manager Adam Champy said the loop is "stable enough to go running with."
"You're either asked to take the headphone apart, or put something in your ear that won't fit," Champy said.
Google also promises a 'one button to rule them all' element to the buds. "Help is just a touch away," the website says. Bud wearers trigger the Google Assistant using a similar one-touch method as Apple users would in triggering Siri. It also offers one-touch audio control. Simply tap the bud to play or pause music and swipe to change the volume.
The cloth-covered case also doubles as a charging station for the buds. The buds come in white, gray and black, and the accent pieces of the cords match the accent colors found on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones.
The earbuds will release in November and you can pre-order them now on the Google store website. They'll cost $159. Relive the full scope of Google's announcements today via livestreams on YouTube.