Talk to most Android enthusiasts about the current cause of their excitement, and the odds are that the Pixel 6a won’t be high on the list.
It’s really not that strange: The Pixel 6a, Google’s upcoming mid-range phone, is showing growing signs of landing around the time of the company’s I/O developers conference next month. May – will almost certainly be just a lower-end equivalent of the higher-end Pixel 6 flagship launched last fall.
And hey, the more premium flagship phones are where it all exciting everything happens – right? Especially at a time when almost every device maker seems to be working on gizmos that are capable of bending, buckling, and sometimes doing fun mini-jigsaws to keep you entertained, one completely boring mid-range model that hardly interests you. IT’S CORRECT?!
Well, sort of – in a sense. But keep the phone: This story is more than what you see on the surface. While the Pixel 6a will certainly lack the flash and pizzazz like its more expensive brethren, looks can be deceiving. And here on Android land, it’s usually at least Interesting announcements eventually become most of important from a broader perspective.
Allow me to explain.
Before we get to Google’s current Pixel ambitions and currents, we need to rewind a bit of our exciting Google history.
In fact, we’re going back to prehistoric 2013 – a year when Google really The world’s first homemade Android phone appeared.
I realized that phone was none other than the Moto X. Now, I realize it feels like an eternity, but remember: Google owned Motorola in that era. And the 2013 Moto X was our first look at what a purely Google-made phone, from start to finish, would look like.
God, it’s something. The first Moto X was that rare Android device that eschewed the focus on then-standard specs for the sake of specs and instead emphasized an exceptionally comprehensive user experience – an add-on. adding thoughtful and really valuable features to the existing Android framework without just arbitrarily changing things around for the sake of change.
Some of those features continue to influence the way we use our phones today. The first Moto X, for example, introduced the concept of always-on voice activation – long before the Google Assistant became a reality. It features the first version of Android’s now-standard always-on display system along with one of the platform’s first autonomous driving detection options. And all of that is just the beginning.
However, despite all its positives and the much critical acclaim surrounding them, the Moto X is, by most features, a commercial bargain. Without a doubt, it earned a lot of covetousness among tech enthusiasts – but one thing it never earned was a ton of money for Motorola. Usually and simply, the phone failed.
Four months later that same year, Motorola held a small event in Brazil to announce another device made by Google. This latter event lacks the glitz and glamor of the Moto X launch, and it doesn’t even involve the US or other major markets. At its heart is a bit of something called the Moto G – a completely drab device that’s basically just a lower-end, less flashy version of the Moto X flagship.
There’s not a lot to like about the Moto G. It has a simple, silent look, low specs, and doesn’t have fancy features or eye-catching design like its more expensive X-branded sibling. its. And yet, it follows the same basic design language as its more advanced equivalent and packs all the same core concepts into a practical package at half the price – $180 for a the brand new Moto G, compared to the $380 (which, yes, seemed like a lot at the time) for the sleeker and more expensive Moto X.
Do you remember what happened since then? No one makes a fuss about the Moto G. It’s not worth the fame, it’s not the subject of endless hype and excitement, and it’s certainly not anything to write home about. What it to beEven so, it’s an extremely solid and high-quality experience in an affordable form factor. And as its availability spread to more regions, it quickly became a huge hit – a device that was credited with single-handedly “reviving” Motorola, driving record phone sales across the world. globally, and eventually become the company’s best-selling smartphone and its blueprint for the future.
And that brings us back to the present and what we’re seeing happening with Google’s Pixel devices right now.
The potential of Pixel 6a
From the very beginning, Google’s Pixel phones have won the admiration of experience-focused Android enthusiasts – including some low-key (but incredibly handsome) Android columnists. In fact, the Pixels are the only phone I wholeheartedly recommend to most people these days, as the overall user experience with them is just in a different league from anything else out there.
Factor in the devices’ promise of single software updates and all their privacy and security advantages, and there’s a lot of praise for what the Pixel has to offer – especially the from the perspective of a business minded phone owner.
And yet, the best Pixel flagships in the segment have never been the best-selling phones. Blame the marketing, blame usability, or blame any other variable related to Google, but the majority of organizations and creatures that use Android remain ignorant of Pixel phones. to be and how they differ from the more well-known and older Android brand(s).
One area where Google has seen some meaningful commercial success is in the mid-range – with its “one” line of Pixel devices. But the most recent Pixel “a” phone, the Pixel 5a, sells for $450. With the high-end Pixel 6 flagship currently priced at just $600, $450 is suddenly no longer a bargain.
Now let’s zoom out even further to look at the broader smartphone picture at this particular moment. The Pixel 6’s price represents a significant drop from the cost of its flagship Pixel predecessor, the $700 Pixel 5 – itself a hundred dollars less than Prior to– Pixel flagship, Pixel 4 800 USD.
The Pixel 6 also includes a longer software support window than ever before – with three years guaranteed timely OS updates and five years of monthly security patches. That really makes the phone valuable less than per year is recommended to own compared to the significantly cheaper Pixel 5a, which is a pretty crazy disconnect to consider.
Much of the Pixel 6’s advancement in both price and life support has to do with the fact that it’s the first Pixel phone to be powered by Google’s homemade processor – a change that opens doors. door to both cost savings, in Google’s view, and the ability to provide longer support without relying too heavily on third-party component manufacturers.
All indications are that the Pixel 6a will follow that same pattern and bring Google-made processors into the mid-range Pixel realm – meaning we should, in theory, see both lower prices. and a longer support window for the phone. And especially given the difference between the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5a in terms of value, that would be a very welcome pair of tweaks.
Now consider this: According to a recent analysis, the best-selling Android phone of 2021 isn’t a flashy flagship or a device most of us are probably already thinking about. Nope – it’s the Samsung Galaxy A12, a budget phone you can buy almost anywhere for $180.
The Galaxy A12 is, in technical terms, terrible. It’s everything we’ve come to expect from budget Android devices over the years, with potato-quality cameras and a screen that’s comparable to gently warmed junk. That’s not to mention slow and clumsy performance and OS updates coming half a year late – if You’re lucky. It’s a phone that “ages ungratefully,” as a recent review put it, and that can be quite generous.
And yet, that creepy clunker outsells all other Android phones in 2021. Wild, right?
The take-home message here is simple: In the Android budget realm, the bar is almost ridiculously low. It won’t take long for a phone Break current ceiling and offers an experience so many times higher than current expectations that it’s completely a no-brainer for even the least expensive businesses to have to buy – from camera quality and basic knowledge of other hardware to timely software support up-to-date, secure and highly recommended phones for a significantly longer time than what is currently possible at this price point there.
Oh, and one more thing: Samsung’s current Galaxy A12 successor, the Galaxy A13 5G, costs $250. That’s good in the Pixel 6a’s standout range. Even if Pixel 6a is on sale for $350, the experience is superior in every way and ability a lot of The longer ongoing support period should make a decision easy to make for any value-minded buyer – provided, of course, that Google manages to market those advantages effectively. efficiency and communicate the importance of long-term computing on smartphones.
In the end, I still doubt an even more affordable Pixel “b” series phone is inevitable at some point. But the Pixel 6a would represent an important step in that direction – and overdue redefining what a mid-range Android phone can be.
Just like the Moto G launch did for Motorola before it, the arrival of the Pixel 6a could be the moment to put the Pixels on the map – bringing Google’s Android philosophy to the masses, helping to transform the company into a manufacturer. smartphone export seriously and finally force other equipment manufacturers to keep up with the level of quality and longevity it offers at that price point.
And thatsuffice it to say, could easily be the biggest Android story of the year – even if it’s not exactly that exciting.
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