Google Slips in a Giant Clue about The 90Hz Display on Pixel 4 in the Android 10 Source Code

Both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are right around the corner. From its physical design to its internals, there is hardly anything we do not know about the upcoming device. It is perhaps this generation of leaks and rumors that have enveloped the tech world today and taken away the excitement.

In 2019, there have been a couple of devices that came out with higher refresh rate displays. The trend started with Razer’s Device, the first iteration. Since then we have seen a bunch of devices with these displays. One of the most prominent ones has to be the OnePlus 7 Pro. The device features a 90Hz refresh rate which omits any and all shortfalls of the display otherwise. According to rumors, the upcoming Pixel Devices are set to feature these high refresh rate displays as well. Now, until today, these were just rumors, however believable they may be. In an article on XDADevelopers, there has been source code from Google that hints at something exciting.

Google’s awkward slip?

According to the article, Google recently uploaded its final source code for Android 10. Now, this is supposed to be the version of Android that ships with Pixel 4 and 4 XL. Upon examining the source code, in the SurfaceFlinger, the writer saw something peculiar. “SurfaceFlinger is a system service responsible for compositing app and system surfaces into a single buffer for the display controller“. In the code, there are comments about what each line or lines of code do. In those, the code provides a switch to turn the 90 Hz display on or off in the settings menu. What really jumps to the observer is that Google was keen to have left that and then deleted it immediately but it was still visible through the history of edits. The code is displayed here below, courtesy of XDADevelopers.

The code that displays that there will be a switch to turn on or off the 90Hz display. The “P19” is most probably the 2019 Pixel device.

The code also revealed that this option would be hidden in the developer tab in the settings. In the status bar, underneath the clock, users would see a triangle which would be Red at 60Hz and Green for the 90Hz experience. Not to mention, further lines of code reveal that the phone would be able to recognize if certain media requires a higher refresh rate and would automatically switch the refresh rate up to 90 Hz.

Perhaps this was done on purpose to create hype. We, the users, are not new to this technique. Many companies do this to raise hype for their upcoming products. Perhaps, if Google is going for the 90Hz display direction, it would be a good move as it really gets the user experience up there. We would only know for sure in the days to come.

Sarmad Burki
Sarmad Burki is a Mathematician and a Economist with a passion for all things gaming and tech. His academics and professional experience combined with tech and gaming adds to his skills giving him a unique ability to observe the tech and gaming industry from various prespectives.