Google releases static-busting Pixel Buds firmware update

Google Pixel Buds 2020
Google Pixel Buds 2020 (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Update, June 16: Google has rolled out the first promised update to the Pixel Buds with firmware 296.

What you need to know

  • Google will start rolling out updates to fix issues with the Pixel Buds.
  • A few users have reported spotty Bluetooth connectivity and a static hissing noise.
  • The first update will come out this week to fix issues with static.

Google has offered a mea culpa to Pixel Buds buyers as it starts preparing updates aimed at addressing quality issues. On Reddit and the Google Product forums, users have expressed concerns with the buds, citing issues relating to its Bluetooth stability, the presence of hissing and static while playing audio, and out of sync audio.

A Google employee this week chimed in let users know that they were heard. Today, Google has promised concrete fixes, the first of which will be coming this week. Pixel Buds will get a firmware update to version 296, intended to decrease "the audio hissing / static noise." In the coming weeks, Google will issue more updates to target specific issues:

  • Decrease instances of phone call cut-outs
  • Improve auto-recovery when one or both earbuds lose connection
  • Improve media playback stability for phones that have software audio encoding

The Pixel Buds have been critically acclaimed, with reviewers praising their design and sound quality while offering concerns about their battery life. It's not entirely clear how widespread the connectivity issues were, but Google's timely fixes should help alleviate buyer pain.

Update, June 16 — Firmware 296 rolls out

Google has rolled out an update to the Pixel Buds with firmware 296. The update reportedly reduces the occurrence of static on the Buds. The other updates are still to roll out in the coming weeks.

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Michael Allison