Android O Developer Preview 3 has an option to enable always-on display feature in the SystemUIGoogle.apk file. The feature is not accessible right now but indicates it may be coming soon.
Google might soon introduce an always-on-display feature for its Pixel range of smartphones. The feature has been spotted on Android O Developer Preview 3, indicating a potential feature addition for future Pixel smartphones too. According to XDA Developers, the always-on-display feature has been found in the SystemUIGoogle.apk file of Android O Developer Preview 3 in the form of a tuner. The feature is not accessible right now, but it sends a strong indication of Google's future plans.
Most Android flagship smartphones already offer Ambient Displays and an always-on display feature, allowing users to see important notifications without having to unlock their device. While Pixel and Nexus phones support Ambient Display mode, they lack support for always-on display mode. A Pixel or Nexus user needs to lift-to-check or double-tap-to-check notifications without unlocking their device.
Samsung was the first to introduce always-on display feature with the launch of its Galaxy S7 flagship smartphone last year, while the ambient display has been part of Android smartphones since the launch of original Moto X in 2013. The feature has been found mostly on smartphones with OLED displays, and Samsung has already managed to lower battery consumption with the feature.
XDA Developers' Mishal Rahmaan notes that he tried to enable the feature and boot the Pixel smartphone with modified APK file, but he could not get it working. It is not evident whether Google is protecting the feature from working or is it just an early test build. With the rollout of the always-on display support, Google's Pixel range will also have the feature already available on Samsung's Galaxy S8 smartphones.