The Pixel 3a could be Google’s ‘Moto G’ moment

In the grand scheme of things, as an Android enthusiast, Google’s Pixel 3a phone really doesn’t seem all that electrifying.

And it’s no wonder: The Pixel 3a, on its surface, is a lower-end remake of the premium Pixel 3 model that came out last fall. When we have devices showing up that are foldable, poppable, and packing more screens than a TV station’s control room (for better or maybe for worse), a decidedly muted midrange model of a phone we already know seems downright mundane.

But you know what? The most important announcements often aren’t the most exciting ones. Having lived with and closely considered the Pixel 3a for several days now, I’m more convinced than ever it has the potential to be one of the most significant and impactful announcements to come out of any Google I/O conference — an announcement whose force could be felt and looked back upon for years to come.

The simplest way to understand why is to think back on another unassuming, mundane-seeming phone from several years ago. I’m talking, of course, about the original Moto G.

The Pixel 3a’s 2013 connection

Let’s bring ourselves back to the summer of 2013 for a second. Tinder and Snapchat were the hot new apps of the moment; “selfie,” “phablet,” and “emoji” had just been added into the Oxford online dictionary; and countless parents were hearing “Let It Go” for the first of what would be approximately 7.2 million times. (If the song’s chorus didn’t automatically just start playing in your head, congratulations: You’re far more sane than the rest of us.)

That same year, Motorola came out with its first phone created entirely under Google’s guidance: the original Moto X. (Remember, Google bought Motorola in 2011, but phones are typically under development for a full couple of years before they see the light of day.)

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