Google is possibly working on an always-on display mode for the Pixel and Pixel XL, according to some code found in Android O Developer Preview 3.
If this pans out, then the phones by Google will take one step further into the same playing field as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8 — or even the rumored Galaxy S8 mini, which could sport the feature as well assuming it's real.
Google Pixel To Get Always-On Display Via Android O
The fine folks over at XDA Developers unearthed the code in Android O Developer Preview 3, and it indicates an always-on display mode coming to the Pixel.
Particularly, there's a string that says "doze_always_on." Now they explain that mentions of "doze" don't refer to the battery-saving mode Doze introduced by Android 6.0 Marshmallow but the Ambient Display.
To put two and two together, that means there's potentially an always-on display mode making its way to Pixel phones via Android O in the foreseeable future.
On an interesting note, the feature doesn't seem to be working at the moment, even when they manually edited the code to flip the switch, so to speak.
Also, the code is found in "tuner_prefs.xml." Put differently, the always-on display mode is experimental for now, and it can be located in the hidden SystemUI Tuner, which is easy to access, anyway.
What Is Always-On Display?
To explain what all the fuzz is about, an always-on display lets a smartphone "stay on" to show the time, notifications, and whatnot when the screen is turned off, using little or no power.
That's the plan on paper, though. Among the current brood, Samsung is one of the key players in this game, introducing its own take at the technology with the Galaxy S7. However, it should be cleared up that Motorola was the first to showcase the feature with the Moto Display on the 2013 Moto X.
Now Samsung took more than three years to turn it into a viable feature, where one of the biggest hurdles was power consumptions. As anyone can imagine, that doesn't come as a surprise, as battery life is more important than a screen that's always lit.
If Google manages to bring the always-on display mode to Pixel phones, then it's going to be quite a game changer, not to mention that the highly anticipated Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will likely have the feature from the get-go if this works out smoothly.