Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Google Pixel Buds 2 Will Miss the Holiday Shopping Season

By Evan Niu, CFA - Oct 16, 2019 at 8:30AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The search giant has unveiled a set of true wireless earbuds, but don't expect to stuff any stockings with them.

It was pretty obvious that truly wireless earbuds were going to be all the rage this holiday shopping season. Apple (AAPL 4.08%) had refreshed its category-defining AirPods early this year. Last month, Amazon.com (AMZN 3.66%) unveiled its Echo Buds, which ship at the end of October. And just a couple weeks ago, Microsoft (MSFT 2.76%) took the wraps off its Surface Buds, which are set to ship at some point later this year.

With that backdrop, expectations were running high for Google's hardware event yesterday. The Alphabet (GOOG 4.16%) (GOOGL 4.20%) subsidiary indeed announced new Pixel Buds, but the search giant will be missing out on the busy holiday shopping season.

Pixel Buds 2 and charging case

Pixel Buds 2. Image source: Google.

Better late than never

Google officially showed off the second-generation Pixel Buds at its event. The new Buds ditch the tether that previously connected the two earbuds on the first-generation version in order to qualify as truly wireless. The earbuds themselves have been completely redesigned for better fit and offer hands-free access to Google Assistant with the familiar "Hey Google" command.

Pixel Buds 2 use an in-ear design to isolate noise. There is no active noise cancellation, but the earbuds will instead use adaptive sound to dynamically adjust the volume based on ambient environmental conditions. Of the wireless earbuds mentioned above, only the Echo Buds feature some form of noise-cancellation tech. Amazon is incorporating Bose's best-in-class algorithms for active noise reduction. Apple is rumored to have noise-canceling AirPods 3 in the works.

Google is using long-range Bluetooth that the tech company says will allow Pixel Buds 2 to stay connected for about 100 yards away when outside, or three rooms away when inside. The earbuds are sweat- and water-resistant and offer five hours of battery life on a single charge, with the wireless charging case bringing total battery life up to around 24 hours.

In terms of pricing, Pixel Buds 2 will cost $179, compared to $199 for AirPods (with wireless charging case), $130 for Echo Buds, and $249 for Surface Buds. However, the product won't ship until spring 2020, so Google is essentially pre-announcing the device in hopes that prospective buyers will forego buying a competing set of wireless earbuds over the holidays.

That's a bit disappointing, especially considering how long Google has had to develop the earbuds. The company launched the first Pixel Buds two years ago, and it's not exactly a mystery how popular AirPods are. By the time Pixel Buds 2 ship, it will be over three years since Apple first started selling AirPods. 

Earworn wearables ("hearables") are one of the fastest-growing product categories and represented nearly half of the entire wearables market in the second quarter, according  to IDC.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOG
$2,255.98 (4.16%) $90.06
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$149.64 (4.08%) $5.86
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
MSFT
$273.24 (2.76%) $7.34
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL
$2,246.33 (4.20%) $90.48
Amazon.com, Inc. Stock Quote
Amazon.com, Inc.
AMZN
$2,302.93 (3.66%) $81.38

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
344%
 
S&P 500 Returns
120%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/27/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.