Well, this has sure been an interesting week, hasn’t it?

Now, hang on: I’m not talking about that other news going on in the good ol’ U.S. of A. right now. That’s a different column for a different publication. No — here in the land o’ Android, the high-stakes debate revolves around the Pixel 4 and whether Google’s latest flagship phone is a device worth buying.

And you know what? The more you think about that question, the more you realize just how prickly of a situation Google’s currently facing as it works to turn its phone from niche-level, enthusiast darling into mainstream success.

I often find historical parallels to be a useful tool for making sense of present-day situations. And while “historical” may be a relative term when it comes to mobile technology, it suddenly dawned on me that the story we’re seeing play out with the Pixel 4 right now has an awful lot in common with a major milestone in Google’s past.

Put on your thinking caps, gang. It’s time to get philosophical.

The Pixel 4 philosophy

We’ll come back to that historical connection in a minute. First, we need to think through what actually makes the Pixel 4 special — what qualities it possesses, regardless of whether it’s a phone you’d personally purchase or not, that are truly exceptional and noteworthy in the field of Android options.

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