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How the Pixel 6a can completely reshape Android

Talk to most Android fans about their current excitement, and odds are, the Pixel 6a won’t be at the top of the list.

No wonder, really: The Pixel 6a — Google’s upcoming mid-range phone model, which increasingly indications should arrive as early as the company’s I/O developer conference in May — will surely be just the low-key equivalent of more From the Pixel 6 premium flagship introduced last fall.

Hey, high-end flagship phones are where everything really is Thrilling Things happen – right? Especially at a time when nearly every instrument maker seems to work on spurs that bend and fold and sometimes perform delightful little dances for amusement, a regular mid-range model is hardly cause for delight. right?!

Well, kind of – in a sense. But hold the phone: there is more to this story than you see on the surface. While the Pixel 6a will undoubtedly lack the flicker and vibrancy of its more expensive cousins, appearances can be deceiving. And here in the Android world, it’s often the least Exciting ads that end up being bone Important from a bigger picture perspective.

Allow me to explain.

pixel perspective

Before we get to the present and the ambitions of Google’s current Pixel, we need to step back a bit on Google’s geeky track record.

We’ve gone all the way back in prehistory to 2013, in fact – the year Google actual The inaugural home-made Android phone made its way to the world.

This phone was none other than the original Moto X. It feels like forever now, I realize, but remember: Google owned Motorola in that era. And the 2013 Moto X was our first glimpse of what a phone built entirely by Google would look like, from start to finish.

Goodness, was it something? The first Moto X was the rare Android gadget that eschewed the standard focus at the time on specs for specs’ sake and instead emphasized an exceptional overall user experience — one that added truly thoughtful and valuable features to the existing Android framework without arbitrarily changing things for the sake of change itself.

Some of these features continue to influence how we use our phones today. The first Moto X introduced the concept of permanent voice activation, for example – long before the advent of Google Assistant. It had an early version of the now-standard Android always-on display system along with one of the platform’s auto-detection options. And it was all just the beginning.

However, despite all the positives and the wide critical praise about them, the Moto X was, for the most part, a commercial failure. You’ve earned a lot of geek lust, without a doubt – but the one thing you haven’t been able to earn is a lot of money for Motorola. Plain and simple, the phone was a failure.

Four months later that same year, Motorola held a minor event in Brazil to announce another device made by Google. This second event lacked the glamor and charm of a Moto X launch, and didn’t even include the US or other major markets. His focus was on something called the Moto G – a decidedly lackluster device that was basically just a less flashy version of the flagship Moto X.

There wasn’t much to get excited about the Moto G. It had a plain, silent look, good specs, and none of the fancy features or attractive designs of its more expensive X-branded sibling. However, it followed the same basic design language as its high-end counterpart and packed all the same core concepts into a package that was roughly half the price – $180 for a brand new Moto G, compared to $380 (which, yes, seemed like a lot at the time) for a Moto X is the most beautiful and the most expensive.

Do you remember what happened from there? Nobody made much of a fuss about the Moto G. It wasn’t eye-catching, it wasn’t the subject of endless hype and excitement, and it certainly wasn’t anything to write home about. What It wasDespite this, it was a very solid, high quality and very affordable experience. As its availability spread to more regions, it quickly turned into a huge success – a device credited with single-handedly “reviving” Motorola, driving sales of record phones worldwide, and eventually becoming the company’s best-selling smartphone and its blueprint for the future.

And that brings us back to the present and what we see playing with Google Pixel devices at the moment.

Pixel 6a capabilities

Right from the start, Google’s Pixel phones won the hearts of Android geeks to try it out — including some humble (but very handsome) Android columnists. Pixels are the only phones I highly recommend to most people these days, in fact, because the overall user experience with ’em is just in such a different league than anything else out there.

Factor in the hardware’s unique software update promise and all its privacy and security benefits, and there’s plenty of praise for what the Pixel offers — particularly from the perspective of a business-minded phone owner.

However, the best-in-class flagship Pixel phones have never been a big seller. Blame marketing or blame any number of other variables linked to Google or blame any number of other variables linked to Google, but the vast majority of organizations and beings that use Android are still woefully unaware of what Pixel phones even are. be And how it differs from the most well-known and established brands of Android.

The one area where Google has seen some kind of meaningful commercial success is the mid-range — with its Pixel “a” lineup of devices. But the latest Pixel “a” phone, the Pixel 5a, retails for $450. With the high-end Pixel 6 flagship phone currently only costing an impressive 600, $450 doesn’t seem like a bargain anymore.

Now let’s dive further to take a look at the wider smartphone picture at this very moment. The Pixel 6’s price represents a significant drop in the cost of its flagship Pixel predecessor, the $700 Pixel 5 — which itself has dropped hundreds of dollars from Previous-gen Pixel Flagship, $800 Pixel 4.

The Pixel 6 also ensures a longer software support window than ever – with three years of guaranteed timely OS updates and five Years of monthly security patches. This actually made the phone cost less For every year of recommended ownership compared to the much cheaper Pixel 5a, it’s a pretty crazy chapter to consider.

Much of the Pixel 6’s advances have to do with both price and life support with the fact that it’s the first Pixel phone to be powered by a homemade Google processor — a shift that opens the door to cost savings, from Google’s perspective, and the ability to offer longer support without the thorny reliance on a third-party component maker external.

All indications are that the Pixel 6a will follow the same pattern and bring a Google-made processor into the mid-range Pixel world – which means we should, in theory, see both at a lower price. And Longer phone support window. And especially with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5a dropping in value terms, this would be a very welcome pair of patches.

Now consider this: According to a recent analysis, the best-selling Android phone of 2021 wasn’t a flashy flagship or a device most of us might have thought. Nope — it was the Samsung Galaxy A12, a budget-level phone that you can buy just about anywhere for $180.

The Galaxy A12 is, to use the technical term, terrible. It’s everything we’ve come to expect from budget-grade Android devices over the years, with a potato-quality camera and screen comparable in quality to warm litter. This is to say nothing of dangerously slow performance and OS updates arriving half a year late – if You are lucky. It’s a phone that “is aging gracefully,” as one recent review describes it, and that might be generous.

However, this bad clunker sold out over all other Android phones in 2021. Wild, right?

The take-home message here is simple: In the Android budget arena, the bar is almost laughably low. The phone will not take much at all crash The current ceiling and offers an experience many times higher than the current expectation that it will be a no-brainer even for a business that requires a lot of money – from camera quality and other hardware basics to timely software support that will keep the phone up-to-date, secure and recommended for longer use Much more than what is currently possible at this price.

Oh, and one more thing: Samsung’s current Galaxy A12 successor, the Galaxy A13 5G, costs $250. This is well within the Pixel 6a’s beating range. Even if the Pixel 6a retails for $350, it’s probably a superior experience in every way Much The longer window for active ongoing support will make this an easy quick decision for any value-minded buyer — provided, of course, that Google can effectively market these benefits and communicate the long-term importance of smartphone accounts.

In the end, I still doubt that a reasonably priced Pixel “b” phone line is inevitable at some point. But the Pixel 6a should mark an important step in that direction — and an overdue redefinition of what a mid-range Android phone could be.

Just like with Motorola’s Moto G launch when the arrival of the Pixel 6a was the moment to put the Pixel on the map – bringing Google’s Android philosophy to the masses, helping turn the company into a serious smartphone player, and eventually imposing else Device makers have to keep up with the level of quality and longevity it offers at this price.

And who – whichSuffice to say, it could easily end up being the biggest Android story of the year — even if it isn’t exactly that exciting.

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Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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