its latest smartphone that serves as a cheaper, midrange entry point into the company’s Pixel lineup. For more on the phone, check out Dieter’s review, but we’re here to talk about the Pixel 3A’s name. Or more specifically: what does the “A” stand for?

Most of the Google Pixel 3A’s moniker makes sense on the surface: “Google,” who, you know, sells the phone. “Pixel,” to indicate that it is of the same stock as its pricier siblings, with similar standards and brand ideologies — particularly around the camera quality — to match. “3,” since that’s the current generation of Pixel phone Google is on, and the 3A is at heart a watered-down Pixel 3.

But what about the A? It’s here that things become much more difficult because, like Apple and its iPhone XR and XS phones, Google has decided to differentiate its phone models with an inscrutable letter appended to the name. And, in lieu of an official explanation from Google, the task falls on us to try to unravel the mystery behind Google’s branding. Here are our best guesses:


As noted before, the Pixel 3A is a lesser version of the regular Pixel 3 — an average, or maybe acceptable model for those who are willing to settle for poorer specs and build quality in exchange for a cheaper phone.


The Pixel 3 costs $799. The Pixel 3A costs $399. It’s way more affordable, and given how important the price point is to Google’s overall sales pitch here, it could very well be the meaning of the lettered designation.


After Google released the Pixel 3 last fall, the Pixel 3A is quite literally another Pixel 3.


Because it has a 3.5mm headphone jack. Pass the aux cord.


Google probably employs some Canadians, who may have had a hand in designing or naming the phone. In Canada, specifically, “eh” or “ay” is used to indicate a question, as in “Are you sure this is a Pixel 3?”. Given the similarities between the two phones on the surface and in terms of features, it’s a plausible mistake to make.


Sometimes, life is just a disappointment and things don’t turn out to have meaning. As physics tells us, it’s impossible to truly know everything about an object, and perhaps — like the iPhone XR before it — there’s just nothing behind the “A” in the Pixel 3A’s name but an endless, meaningless void.


…. or maybe it’s just the phone of choice for The Fonz.

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