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How the Pixel 6a could completely reshape Android

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Talk to most Android enthusiasts about their current causes of excitement, and odds are, the Pixel 6a won’t be high on the list.

It’s no wonder, really: The Pixel 6a — Google’s upcoming midrange phone model, which signs increasingly suggest should be landing around the time of the company’s I/O developers’ conference in May — will almost certainly just be a lower-end equivalent of the more premium Pixel 6 flagship that came out last fall.

And hey, the higher-end flagship phones are where all the truly exciting stuff happens — right? Especially at a time when pretty much every device-maker seems to be working on whiz-bang gizmos that bend, fold, and occasionally perform jaunty little jigs for your amusement, a decidedly mundane midrange model is hardly cause for exhilaration. RIGHT?!

Well, kind of — in a sense. But hold the phone: There’s more to this story than you see on the surface. While the Pixel 6a will undoubtedly lack the flash and pizazz of its costlier cousins, appearances can be deceiving. And here in the land o’ Android, it’s often the least exciting announcements that end up being the most important from a bigger-picture perspective.

Allow me to explain.

Pixel perspective

Before we get to the present and Google’s current Pixel ambitions, we need to rewind a bit in our geeky Googley history.

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