We've talked about how Google is playing its own game with its software-centric approach to the Pixel program, but one factor that's all too easy to overlook is the way that same mindset is now spreading from the flagship level to other parts of the Android phone spectrum.

Allow me to set the stage: With its Pixel phones, as we've seen now with three different generations of the device, Google is embracing the reality everyone else is ignoring and focusing primarily on the importance of software in the phone-using experience. Sure, each new set of Pixel products has the usual set of hardware updates and internal improvements, but the true selling points are less about megapixels or bezels and more about how the phone's bits and bytes push the experience forward in genuinely useful ways.

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