Google Pixel could soon have an Always On Display mode

Energy savings isn't the only benefit to come from OLED, specifically AMOLED, displays. Or rather, there are other benefits to the technology that allows AMOLED screens to be more efficient with the batery. One of those is the ability to have the entire display still enabled but displaying very little or almost nothing. This is the so-called Always On Display and it might soon be coming to a Google Pixel phone near you.

An always on display isn't actually new. While the Android world saw it for the first time in the Moto X, it also featured in the ill-fated Nokia N9 more than half a decade ago. It was only recently, however, that it has been popularized, especially by Samsung's latest flagship. GIven how AMOLED screens are becoming more popular however, someone at Google might have thought it was high time to give its own flagship a premium feature.

It's not yet confirmed nor set in stone, but the makings of an always on display feature was spotted by XDA inside the third developer preview for Android O. There, some code hinted at an "always on" doze mode. It might sound confusing, but "doze" in the code refers to Android's Ambient Display feature. Elsewhere, it refers to the battery saving Doze mode.

This feature isn't yet available in the user interface in any way. Editing the code to turn it on doesn't add or change anything. But even if it were to show up, it would be categorized as experimental under the hidden UI Tuner settings. This implies that, should it even land on Android O, it won't be enabled by default.

Useful as it may be, the feature will always incur some battery drain, no matter how small it may be. But, then again, it is a feature that could have been there from the start. And even if Google doesn't push through with it, there will be countless ways to get the feature via third-party apps.