Google Pixel Buds 3 launch coming soon — and it’s getting this big upgrade

Google Pixel Buds 2
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

More evidence of the Google Pixel Buds 3 has emerged, courtesy of some FCC certification filings that drop numerous hints of covering Google’s next pair of wireless earbuds.

The filings, spotted by 9to5Google, even hint at a possible Pixel Buds 3 release date — potentially backing up a previous leak that set up a showdown with the Apple AirPods 3 this year.

Google Pixel Buds 3: Two versions and a big upgrade

First off, here’s why the two devices that arrived at the FCC for certification — the “GPQY2” and “G7YPJ” — could well be two variants the Pixel Buds 3. First, although they’re listed as coming from Weifang Goertek Electronics rather than Google, this is the same company that was listed in similar FCC paperwork for the original Pixel Buds.

Second, both product codes closely follow Google conventions; the Google Pixel 5, for instance, was certified under the codes GD1YQ, GTT9Q and G5NZ6.

Thirdly, the device dimensions listed in both documents — 27 x 20 x 15 mm, or about 1.1 x 0.8 x 0.6 inches — are clearly small enough to be true wireless earbuds. In fact, these specs are notably similar to those of the current Google Pixel Buds 2.

Other details suggest Google is addressing the weak connectivity issues of the Pixel Buds 2. The (apparent) headphones in these new documents use the same wireless band but output significantly more power, which could mean a stronger Bluetooth signal and fewer dropped connections.

Google Pixel Buds 3 release date

There are no included images, but that’s because the FCC has put a limited confidentiality period on supplied photos. And that’s where the potential release window comes in: the confidentiality period expires in September, hinting at a Pixel Buds 3 launch before then.

Leaker Jon Prosser previously tipped the Pixel Buds 3 for mid-April, which seems a bit soon, but would be well within the pre-September window. The AirPods 3 has also been rumored to appear at an Apple April event, though even the event itself hasn’t been confirmed yet, and other reports point towards the Apple earbuds releasing in the second half of this year.

Still, it does look like both pairs of headphones will break cover before 2021 is done. We’ll be keeping an eye out for more Pixel Buds 3 news, and to see if it really can fix the Pixel Buds 2’s Bluetooth infidelities.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.