It's been a week since OnePlus formally announced its Watch, surprisingly running home-grown software that gives it nigh-unbelievable battery life. Today a OnePlus product manager posted a Q&A about the upcoming Watch on the company's forum, bringing some much-needed insight into the choices made for the new wearable.
It took OnePlus long enough, but the company finally introduced an always-on display option (and an easily toggleable dark mode) with its latest Android 11-based firmware. However, the always-on display option is missing from Oxygen OS 11 on the T-Mobile carrier variant of the OnePlus 8T, as Redditor u/konnesotan was quick to point out. When we reached out to T-Mobile, we were told that the feature should be added in December.
Shrinking screen bezels have played a big role in the disappearance of the subtly breathing notification LED from our modern phones. An always-on display is a fine middle ground that lets you stay on top of your notifications right from the lock screen, but OnePlus hasn’t been able to perfect it for general availability. While you wait for the feature to see the light of day, the only way to get a notification indicator (well, kind of) on your OnePlus 8 right now is through the aodNotify app, but it brings along with some unwelcome implications.
Google may have just purchased Fitbit, but it still has a wearable platform of its own to take care of — Wear OS. Despite its wide array of capabilities that go beyond merely displaying the correct time, that function remains the main utility of a device strapped to your wrist. It's sad to see that during the switch to standard time, some watches' always-on displays kept showing daylight saving hours.
Google Assistant has quickly grown from a simple voice control app to a full-blown product that encompasses many elements of Google's software strategy, proactively providing people with data about themselves. After showing off the super-fast, hardware-specific next-gen Assistant at I/O, Google is still looking to improve the experience for everyone. It appears that the company is working on bringing Assistant updates to the Ambient Display.
In addition to providing fast and frequentupdates, OnePlus is becoming one of the most communicative Android phone manufacturers: It's actually hearing and responding to requests for new features. Back in May, the company spoke out about reported issues and a handful of community requests for the 7 Pro — things like wide-angle video support, and an always-on display — and today it's providing further updates about those requests, as well as others.
These days, OnePlus is known for engaging with its customers more than most smartphone manufacturers do, feeling out their interests when it comes to certain features. Just earlier today, the company published a series of responses related to customer feedback for the 7 Pro, covering a range of topics from the "ghost touch" issue to ongoing camera improvements, and even the potential its latest phone might pick up always-on display functionality — one of the most common requests.
Samsung's Always On Display made its debut on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge over two years ago now. Since then, the company has steadily been adding features here and there, which it's been able to do since the feature itself has its own APK. Always On Display's newest addition is GIF support, which lets you add a little action to the otherwise-dull clock and time.