Although Android Q's Ambient Display seems pretty much unchanged at first glance, we keep discovering small modifications in it that are interesting. One of these is that you can see the full track title, and possibly even artist, on the always-on display without unlocking your phone. We've verified this with Spotify, Pocket Casts, YouTube Music, and Google Play Music, but it will likely happen with all apps that surface a music notification. Read More
The Ambient Display feature in stock Android usually receives a change or two with every new major update, and Android P is no exception. Last year, there was a major push for Google to add the current battery percentage to the Ambient Display, and the feature request currently has nearly 4,000 stars on Google's issue tracker. Read More
The upcoming HTC U11+ promises to be an interesting device (unless you live in the US, where it won't be released – sorry). It's apparently what became of 'Muskie,' the canceled HTC-made Pixel 2 XL, so we're expecting a premium smartphone that could be HTC's best yet. My initial reaction to it was very positive, anyway.
One of the features that will ship with the U11+ is Smart display, which is essentially HTC's version of Ambient Display. Much like what you get on a Pixel, Smart display will show the time, date, and notification icons. It can be set to be 'always on,' and a schedule can even be set to conserve battery. Read More
The latest Android developer preview is filled with lots of incremental changes, many of which are thoughtful and useful. It wouldn’t be possible for Google to get everything right in a beta release, though, and this alteration seems to be more of a backward step.
Previously in Oreo, if you’d set Ambient Display to wake with a notification or with a double tap, it would shut off if the proximity sensor was covered. This was useful for conserving battery as it would turn the screen off as soon as you put it in a pocket or a bag. It was also good if you’d already seen whatever it was notifying you about, as you could simply wave your hand over the sensor to sleep the screen. Read More
These days, a lot of phones come with some form of ambient/always-on displays. Samsung, Motorola, LG, and Google all have phones with a variant of this feature, and it can really come in handy if you just need to check something in a pinch. But while Google has updated its Ambient Display with 8.1 Oreo, it's still missing one crucial feature: battery level. However, you can help push Google to add it by starring this issue in its Issue Tracker. Read More
Google made some big changes to Ambient Display in 8.0, not all of which made people happy. It was a very minimal interface, rather than being a monochrome version of the lock screen. In Android 8.1, Google is adding a few new elements to Ambient Display, but it's still keeping the minimal vibe. Read More
Ambient display on the Android O developer preview is doing some odd things right now. It's showing a minimal and less useful UI for some people, while others see something more akin to the old version. Whatever is going on there, we do know of one small (but useful) change to ambient display in O—covering the proximity sensor now puts the phone back to sleep. Read More
Sometimes updates to Google products are two steps forward, one step back. Ambient display originally showed up in stock Android with the launch of the Nexus 6, which turns on the display for a few seconds when notifications arrive. It has remained a popular feature, but Android O changes it quite a bit. Read More
Google giveth, and Google taketh away. Nexus/Pixel buyers know this too well - from little-used features like lockscreen widgets to more interesting fare like wireless charging, a lot of things have showed up in one Nexus phone only to disappear in the next. The Pixel and Pixel XL, for example, are missing some of the ambient notification tools that debuted with the Nexus 6. But as usual, there's a developer willing to fill in the gap. Check out Ambi-Turner if you want some of those features back. Read More