Technology

Google Had Almost Added Earbuds In The Pixel 2 Box, But Ditched Them

It sucks when you spend more than $600 on a shiny new smartphone, and the box doesn’t even include a pair of earbuds. Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL don’t come with earbuds. However, Google had at least considered including them in the Pixel 2 box. Fresh evidence suggests that the Google Pixel 2 earbuds were almost a reality, but something held Google back from adding them in the box.

Google Pixel 2 Earbuds
Image Credit: Lucas Everett (@lucaseverett) / Twitter (screenshot)

Google Pixel 2 earbuds: What made Google change its mind?

A buyer going by the name Lucas Everett recently picked his Google Pixel 2 from a Verizon store. He was surprised when he opened the box. It, of course, contained the phone and a booklet. It also had a cutout for a pair of Google Pixel 2 earbuds, but there were no buds in the box. As if that wasn’t surprising enough, the Inside the box booklet also included references to the earbuds that weren’t there.

Interestingly, the invisible Google Pixel 2 earbuds were supposed to connect to the device via the USB-C port. They had the same adjustable loops that you’ll find in the new Pixel Buds, which are sold separately at $159. Missing from Everett’s box was the USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack adapter that is supposed to be included in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL retail units.

A Verizon store employee told him that none of the other boxes he had seen had the cutout for the earbuds. According to Phone Arena, Google has confessed that the box Everett received was an early design for the US market. Google’s Android rival HTC includes a set of noise-canceling USonic earbuds in its premium HTC U11 box. Samsung also ships the Galaxy S8 with a pair of AKG earbuds.

Google’s comment indicates that it had at least considered shipping the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL with earbuds. It’s unclear why Google ditched the idea, but the cost might have played a role. It shows that vendors have to put a lot of thought not only in designing the smartphones, but also in designing the retail boxes. Do you think the Google Pixel 2 earbuds would have made Pixel 2 more appealing to potential buyers?

Pixel 2 selling well, but suffers from many issues

Last week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told investors during the company’s Q3 earnings call that the Pixel 2 pre-orders were more than two times higher than the original Pixel pre-orders. The search engine giant’ hasn’t revealed the precise number of pre-orders. Last year’s Pixel phones sold only in small quantities. The Pixel line is off to a good start. But Google is still a new player in the hardware market, and it is far behind Apple and Samsung in the premium smartphone segment.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have suffered from many issues since launch. Some complained about a bluish tint on the screen; others voiced concerns about high-pitched noises from the speaker while on call, burn-in problems, washed-out display colors, and clicking sounds. The search engine giant has promised to fix most of them via a series of software updates.

The software updates will reduce the display brightness by 50 nits, and make the navigation bar buttons fade out after inactivity. If you have experienced the clicking sounds, you can fix it temporarily by turning off NFC in Settings. Google has also extended the global warranty for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL from one year to two years to put the quality concerns at rest.

As if that wasn’t enough, many Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 owners have complained that they were experiencing problems with Android Auto. Users claim Android Auto crashes randomly. Some say it’s crashing only while using Google Maps and Google Play Music. Many have reported that the issue occurs while using other apps as well on a wide variety of car models. The problem affects only Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The original Pixel devices are working fine. Google is looking into the issue.

If you have purchased the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, and want to use the Active Edge feature to activate any app other than Google Assistant, folks over at XDA Developers have found a way to reconfigure it. Currently, squeezing the phone’s frame will trigger Google Assistant, which may not be the app you most frequently use. If you like, you can reconfigure it to activate any other app of your choice using these steps. It’s a lengthy but useful process.