In addition to the upcoming Face ID-like security planned for Android, Google could be taking yet another page from Apple's playbook — or from its own, depending on how you look at it. Our friends at XDA Developers spotted a "Display white balance" setting in earlier Android Q builds, and paired with some new sensors and a few other details, it sounds like the Pixel 4 may have the chops to dynamically adjust its white balance based on ambient light and color.
If that sounds like Apple's True Tone, you're not alone in thinking that. In case you're unfamiliar, True Tone uses sensors on recent Macs and iPhones/iPads which can pick up on the color of ambient light and tune the display in software to match it, sacrificing a tiny bit in objective color accuracy to make the screen look more like a natural surface that would be affected by the character of nearby lighting.
This isn't the first time Google will have implemented this feature in a product. The
Home Nest Hub's Ambient EQ also performs True Tone-like dynamic adjustments based on ambient lighting. LG also did it with the G8 ThinQ, though Apple's recent hardware is probably the most well-known example.
The new feature will require new and specific hardware (déjà vu) which can detect the color of ambient light, though XDA spotted an explicit mention of a new Google color sensor in a string related to the setting. That vendor name attached to sensors in code has been tied to first-party hardware, which implies it'll be found in a future Google-branded, Android-equipped gadget — likely the Pixel 4.
For more technical info, including more strings, classes, and some observed limitations in the currently implemented logic (the feature won't work in Saturated/Adaptive modes, for example), click through to XDA's detailed teardown below.
- XDA Developers