At first many thought the Active Edge on the Pixel 2 was going to be a gimmick, as bad as the Bixby button on the Samsung phones. While Google have not made it as customisable as Edge Sense 2 on the U12+ it can still be used for a variety of functions. Now according to leaks and AOSP code it seems that Active Edge will be present on the new Pixel phones coming this year.
Often the included hardware is leaked to the punters but little is known about the included software. For this reason it was no guarantee that Active Edge will reappear but new “evidence” is showing that it is present in the Pixel 2, at this stage — keeping in mind that prototypes often iterate until the final version is chosen.
The folks over at XDA have been in touch with someone who has their hands on a Pixel 3 XL prototype and before this person soft bricked the phone they did test it by squeezing the sides of the phone. The squeezing motion caused the phone to vibrate, indicating the presence of some form of Active Edge — you would imaging that Google would build upon Active Edge v1.0 just as HTC have done with Edge Sense (it can basically be used to trigger any action on the phone you want).
XDA have some clever folks (as opposed to Ausdroid?) and they decided to poke around in the Android P Developer Preview for any mention of an Active Edge. They managed to find mention of a “WakeMode” within the Active Edge section of the SystemUI — turning it on will allow the edge to wake the phone. The code also checks “ro.product.model” before it’s action works. The product models that it works on includes “Crosshatch” and “blueline”. We already know that the Pixel 3 XL is the “Crosshatch” so the assumption has been made that “blueline” is the Pixel 3.
It seems to be a sensible step from one deduction to another so we would put it down as a “leak” which we have strong confidence in. We know that Google want to make everything about their AI and Google Assistant. To remove one way to call up Google Assistant does not seem to fit with Google’s modus operandi of recent times.
One thing for sure we hope that Google expand their Active Edge just as HTC have done but I doubt that will happen. Just like Samsung with the Bixby button, Google want you to use that function to call their Assistant but as always, the Pixel phones are fairly flexible with what developers can do with their software etc. For example I use Edge Sense Plus on my Pixel 2 XL which allows me, combined with the Magisk module, to customise the single squeeze, double squeeze and the long squeeze to whatever action I want to. While it is unlikely Google will allow this you can be sure developers such as they will continue to provide support where possible.
At this stage we are expecting the Pixel 3 XL to arrive with Active Edge of some sort and wireless charging (and of course the notch). You can be sure that more details will emerge in the build up to their announcement.
We are expecting Google to announce their phones earlier than last year but as we are nearly at the mid-point of the year it will not be long to wait one way or the other. Stay tuned to Ausdroid where we will cover anything and everything Google Pixel related in the lead up to that announcement.