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Finally, Google announced the Pixel Buds A, the affordable version of its Pixel Buds. And affordable they are, dropping from $179 to $99.
- Overall, it looks pretty good for Google as they’re a better buy for most people. But are they the right buy, for most people?
The good news:
- Google has listened and made improvements despite the lower price, now at $99.
- That includes attempting to fix the Pixel Buds’ notoriously bad audio drops, by improving the chipset and antennas.
- This improvement now allows each earbud to connect independently to your device (extremely likely to be your phone).
- Audio remains the same as the Pixel Buds: the same 12mm dynamic speaker drivers with two beam-forming microphones, the same vent to allow outside noise to be piped in so your ears don’t feel clogged.
- That said, the vent has been tapered a bit, to now allow less outside noise in.
- There’s a new Dark Olive color option.
The bad news:
- I don’t know if it’s really bad news. Google had to cut a few corners to make these cheaper.
- There’s no more wireless charging in the case, and you also lose the volume control feature available when you swiped the Buds.
- Battery life is the same. New products should, ideally, be better so it’s a tiny shame that Google couldn’t wrestle more out of the package.
- The competition. I would say if Google released these in 2020 at this price point, they’d have been much more of a winning option. By now, though, the competition is just so fierce.
- Our sister site SoundGuys keeps very tight control on its best true wireless earbuds list for under $100. They’ll test the new Pixel Buds A, but current best buys, in the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 and the Edifier TWS1 (under $50), will be super hard to beat.
- Then, there’s the joy of noise cancellation, though you’re stepping up to $200-plus on most occasions.
🤔 Rumors suggest Samsung Galaxy S21 FE could be a Note 20 follow-up, but …that’s a Note, not a Galaxy S device, so it’s unclear what might come out of this (Android Authority).
🌠 Google could be readying a cool astro timelapse feature for Pixels (Android Authority).
🆕 Details of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 successor have leaked through a reliable source, suggesting 4nm process and Snapdragon X65 modem, Kryo 780 CPU, and Adreno 730 GPU (Android Authority).
🔎 Google will take on some of Apple’s privacy attempts, by making it harder to track Android users across apps (Android Authority).
🍎 Apple vows to make AirTags less creepy, and deliver (a limited) Android app this year (Android Authority).
🍏 Apple’s next iPad Pro may have wireless charging and a glass back: report (The Verge).
⚡ Report: Apple working on multi-device inductive charging mat, researching truly wireless charging methods — AirPower, finally? (9to5Mac).
⛔ Huawei has been trying to get its major Chinese Android smartphone rivals to join it in running HarmonyOS to make China free of Google’s Android — but biggest Android smartphone brands didn’t join, though some others, including Skyworth, DJI, and Swiss watch producer Tissot did get on board (SCMP).
😇 Amazon’s Halo band is now tracking movement health. This piece says: “Amazon should rethink its half-baked approach to health-tracking” (Gizmodo).
🎮 Legendary Sierra founders Ken and Roberta Williams are developing a new game, 20 years after their last (Engadget).
😬 Chaotic scenes at Nvidia GPU restock (Kotaku).
🐤 Twitter Blue subscriptions launch in Canada and Australia first (Engadget).
🦈 The world saw a shark-pocalypse 19 million years ago, and we don’t know why (Ars Technica).
🐝 Drama: internet backlash comes for the TikTok Texas bee queen, who saves bees mostly without protective equipment, but may have inaccurately portrayed videos (CNET).
🛫 United Airlines plans to add 15 Boom Supersonic jets to its fleet (Engadget).
😎 Next week we’ll get a partial, or annular, solar eclipse, though mostly limited to Canada, Greenland, and northern Russia. Most of the US will only see a shadow on the sun (NASA).
📦 “People on Amazon who answer a question about a product with “I don’t own one of these so I don’t know,” what is your reasoning?” (r/askreddit).
There’s something fun about this story which talks about storm experts sending in tough robots directly into hurricanes (Mashable).
That sounds super cool and tough right? Must be some kind of special flying autonomous aircraft, or a cool hovercraft thing, or water-based tank, or something?
Nope. It’s a little yacht:
- More cute than tough, right? How does this thing survive a hurricane?
- The story is Saildrone and NOAA are going to send these floaty boys into the eye of major hurricanes to better understand the dynamics at play.
- They’ve already survived a bunch of missions through different weather systems, but even if it goes wrong, we’ll know more. “It will be a voyage of discovery,” said Richard Jenkins, Saildrone’s founder. “We’re going to break things and we’re going to learn.”
- And with cameras attached to the 23-foot long boat, we’ll get to see it happen, too.
All the best,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.