I just spent a few minutes with the new Google Pixel Buds hardware
— the $179 truly wireless earbuds aren’t shipping until Spring
2020, and the units at Google’s fall hardware event aren’t
actually turned on and working. So there’s no way to tell how
they’ll actually sound, and how Google’s various software tricks
work in practice.
Not shipping for six months is one thing; not even having usable prototypes now is another. They must have felt like they had to show them anyway — Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon are already in the game.
Apple isn’t usually first in a product category, but AirPods established a template all the other tech giants (other than Facebook, so far) are following.