Google’s 2nd-generation Assistant headphones went on sale in nine countries today as part of the international launch. Next month will see more colors become available, as well as a Feature Drop-level update for Pixel Buds that adds new features and fixes audio cutouts.
Not counting a day one, out-of-the-box upgrade, there have been two firmware releases since launch for the Pixel Buds. The first did not introduce any noticeable changes, while the latest one addressed audio hissing. Besides patches, Google plans on introducing “new helpful features over time” for its Assistant headphones that are analogous to Pixel phone Feature Drops.
That first major update is set for “late August,” though Google wearable head Sandeep Waraich did not specify what functionality is coming in an interview with Forbes:
“Our next release will have a combination of new features…and then we’ll also have performance improvements in terms of more stability coming into the product.”
We previously spotted work on “attention alerts” that could detect smoke alarms, barking and crying, while Google previously said that headphones will appear in the Find My Device app.
Meanwhile, the company last month committed to implementing the following Pixel Buds fixes:
- Decrease instances of phone call cut outs
- Improve autorecovery when one or both earbuds lose connection
- Improve media playback stability for phones that have software audio encoding
Waraich pins the primary issue of audio cutouts to the nature of Bluetooth and the physical design of truly wireless earbuds (TWEs) constraining antenna size. That said, he does acknowledge “corner cases” and that Google is planning to address them:
“It could be corner cases where it’s just a certain things would trigger the buds to crash. [Those are] far and few, maybe once every 10,000 cases or once every 100,000 cases. But when it starts to kind of mount we want to make sure that we are fixing all those issues where either memory overrun happens, or any of the raised conditions, and then the the system could crash.
However, Google — citing feedback and analytics — believes that the “vast majority” of Pixel Buds owners are not facing any problems. The company sent out a survey last month that asked customers to identify issues.
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