Google showed off its latest ecosystem of devices in the hardware event held in San Francisco, the company which put its AI-driven software, Assitant, front and centre of all its new products. The launches which included brand new Pixel smartphones, a new Chrome OS-based laptop, and new speakers, along with that Google also launched its first wireless headphones called Pixel Buds
The important highlights of Pixel buds include
- The Pixel Buds enables real-time language translation with a Pixel phone
- For a more comfortable fit it comes with a semi-occluded design
- The Pixel Buds ship in November for $159(Roughly Rs10500) .
However, after speaking to the Adam Champy, product manager for Pixel Buds and seeing demos of its capabilities, we feel that the real goal of the new Buds is to make Google’s Translate app a lot more user-friendly and to make the process of translation, more conversational and easy.
Google’s Juston Payne unveiled the Pixel Bud’s main feature in action. This main feature involves wearer of the Pixel Bud who simply speaks in their native language, which is then translated as per your settings, and read out loud by Assitant through the phone’s speaker. Once the person you’re speaking to replies, that message is once again translated back to your native language via the phone, and you hear the answer through the Pixel Buds. Currently Google supports up to 40 languages, and Hindi is one among them
The major pros include,
- The Pixel Buds are designed for ‘eyes-free’ usage so asking the Assitant for directions when wearing the Pixel Buds should give you walking directions
- The earbuds themselves have a semi-occluded design so they don’t seal your ear canal completely like most corded wireless headphones, and this is very much a deliberate design choice
- They are designed for everyday listening, which would typically involve using it in a city or during a commute to work etc
- It supports beamforming so it can better identify your voice
- When you normally use the Google Translate app, you need to tap the microphone and speak into your phone. However, with Pixel Buds, the app also gets a simplified interface so it’s easier for both parties to communicate, thus making it feel like an actual conversation rather than talking into a device.
- It support the AAC audio codec if you wish to take advantage of higher resolution files.
It is also followed by few limitations. Such as,
- Pixel Bud’s real-time translation feature will only work when you use the Pixel Buds with a Pixel phone, and not any other phone.
- It’s not meant for active-use like running or training.
And at the last, music playback is still the most important feature. Champy says “When you’re building a premium headphone, music is critical”. The basic headphone comes with earbuds which are light-weight and ship with a case that also charges the headphones. Battery life of just the headphones is rated at about 5 hours on a single charge. There are touch controls on the right earbud for music playback, so you swipe forwards or backward for adjusting the volume, tap once for play/ pause, but to go next or previous, you need to give a voice command. The Pixel Buds supports Bluetooth 4.0. They go on sale in November in the US for $159, although India pricing and availability isn’t yet known.