While there are undeniable similarities between this Google Pixel Headphones concept and the AirPods Max, this one comes with a sturdy padded headband, touch-enabled ear cups, and a USB-C port to charge the device.
It’s common knowledge that Apple usually takes its time with technology, releasing new features long after they’ve proven themselves (widgets, multitasking, and more recently lock screen customization), although it seems like Google has caught up with hardware of late. The company that was generally hardware-aware, releasing a smartwatch before Apple (via its Motorola subsidiary) and even beating Apple into the smart speaker market with the Google Nest, has yet to release smart headphones. Google’s Pixel phone releases plateaued in 2019-20, only picking up again in 2021 with the Pixel 6, and the Pixel Buds also finally got a refresh after years; but Google has no horse in the smart earphone race…yet. Imagined and designed by Yousef Hussain, the Google Pixel Earbuds are the company’s answer to Apple’s AirPods Max. Designed to pair seamlessly with Google’s smartphones and work seamlessly with its voice AI, the Pixel Earphones are a pair of clean cans that help you get the most “useful” audio experience Android has to offer. Who knows, maybe he has a Tensor chip too??
Without really any speculation (given that this is a concept), let’s really break down the design of the Pixel headphones. It’s classic, understated, and looks a lot like the designer who borrowed cues from the AirPods Max and Chromecast. The headrest is slim, but padded, and the ear cups have a woven fabric overlay with the letters L and R embroidered inside the cups to tell you how to wear the phones. Metal sliders let you fine-tune the height, though the ear cups don’t fold forward like the AirPods Max, nor is there a troublesome case/purse with it.
Instead, the Pixel headphones charge via USB-C, located at the base of the right ear cup. A single button on the top of the left earcup handles power, while the headphones are fully usable using touch controls on both cups. How one would really explain accidental touches (or other people randomly touching them and interrupting music playback) remains to be seen, but again… this is a concept device, after all. .
Other details include the five rather delicious color schemes (which match the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro color schemes), and what looks like microphone arrays around the rim of each cup (given the few slits it has). are on them). It’s safe to assume that these cans have at least ANC if not a transparency mode. The slits also make me wonder if these are semi-open headphones, which would make passive noise cancellation/isolation rather impossible.
The Pixel Earphones are a pretty neat way to show off “what could have been” had Google taken its hardware game more seriously instead of wasting time designing its 100th chat and messaging app. There seems to be little method in the corporate madness, although as someone who’s used Android products all their life, I see very little impetus to move into Apple’s walled garden. Something like these Pixel headphones would convince me all the more to stick to my Android lifestyle!