When Google brought Ambient Display to Nexus devices everyone loved it. Google were not the first to use an Ambient Display-type feature but that hasn’t stopped them developing their implementation such that it improved enough to make the cut into the list of features of the Pixel phones.

We have seen other manufacturers bring an ambient mode to their devices that is on at all times. Samsung were first to introduce it via the Galaxy S7 last year and were able to reduce battery consumption of this feature to make it viable. Now it seems Google is looking to bring this feature to Pixel phones with evidence of it’s presence appearing in the latest Android O Developer Preview code.

The clever folks over at XDA Developers have decompiled the SystemUIGoogle.apk file from the latest Android O Developer Preview and found evidence pointing towards the existence of an always-on ambient mode for Pixel devices.

<preferencescreen android:title=”@string/tuner_doze” android:key=”doze”> <com.android.systemui.tuner.tunerswitch android:title=”@string/tuner_doze_always_on” android:key=”doze_always_on” sysui:defvalue=”false”> </com.android.systemui.tuner.tunerswitch></preferencescreen>

The mention of “doze” in the above code has nothing to do with that battery-saving mode called doze but within Android’s source code “doze” refers to Ambient Display. The lines of code is that which toggles the Ambient Display to always on or not. XDA say that the feature is experimental because it is found in the tuner_prefs.xml which defines features that are present in the usually hidden SystemUI Tuner (this can be unhidden in many devices easily).

At this stage the feature is not yet accessible but you can be certain that Google are working hard behind the scenes to get it implemented into the final Android O build when it arrives later this year.

Do you like the idea of an Always-On Ambient Display on a Pixel device? You would use it or would you stick to the current implementation? Are you someone who turns Ambient Display off entirely?

Source: XDA Developers.
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Craig Mitchell

Just want the notification LED back, to let me know if I have an important message, without touching my phone. If ambient display can do this, then cool.

Luke Vesty

Yep, like it. Really hope it lands with O!