A new line of code discovered by XDA within the latest Android O Developer Preview suggests Google is at least experimenting with the idea of adding an always-on display feature to the Pixel and Pixel XL.
The relevant line of code,”doze_always_on,” was discovered by XDA‘s Mishaal Rahman. “Doze,” in this case, refers to the Android Open Source Project’s (AOSP) ambient display functionality, not the operating system’s recently added battery saving feature. Google’s developers typically give a feature an internal codename before the company decides on a final name, so sometimes certain features have overlapping names. Another example of this is Android’s screen saver functionality, which is referred to as “dream” within the AOSP.
In any case, Rahman was unable to get a look at the feature in action. However, the code is there to support the functionality. Moreover, both the Pixel and Pixel XL have the relevant hardware to support the feature — in this case, an AMOLED display.
The 2013 Moto X was one of the first phones to feature ambient display functionality. Samsung, however, has since popularized ambient displays with its Galaxy series of smartphones.
In fact, the feature has since become so popular that it’s been added as a regular part of the AOSP, allowing any smartphone OEM to easily support the feature as long as their device has the relevant hardware.