Rumors of a new pair of Google earbuds have been swirling for a little while now. It seems clear that we're getting a cheaper set — possibly called Pixel Buds A in line with its phone naming scheme for its more affordable models — and Google itself appeared to leak an image of the upcoming product. New evidence has popped up that points to a lack of volume gesture controls.
In a teardown of the latest version of the Pixel Buds app (1.0.367372739), 9to5Google noticed that the new buds are being referred to as "type_two" while the current-gen model goes by the "type_one" moniker. It looks like Google is preparing the app for the launch of the Pixel Buds A. Diving deeper into the code showed that the "type_two" variant doesn't have a charging indicator inside the case, which is backed up by the leaked image. What was also discovered is that there is mention of “swipe_forward” or “swipe_backward” in the code for the unreleased Buds A – those relate to the swiping volume gesture controls on the current-gen Pixel Buds.
The upcoming Pixel Buds (left) will have a few differences compared the current set (right).
Now, it could be that these gestures have been omitted in error or that they'll be added in a newer version, but it seems more likely that the cheaper Pixel Buds A will just not have volume controls on the earbuds themselves. This may not be a dealbreaker for many, and I can't say I ever really used the swiping gesture all that much. Controlling the volume using the connected device has always seemed more intuitive to me, but others may disagree. It's also true that plenty of rival buds do not have this capability, so it may have represented a logical removal as part of bringing the cost of the product down.
There's a good chance the Pixel Buds A will be announced at May's Google I/O or even sooner, so we can expect more concrete details in the near future.