Launched a few years ago, Android gaming phones are pimped out flagship devices intended to offer an even better gaming experience than regular flagship phones. What sets them apart from those regular phones are displays featuring higher refresh rates, which is a feature that definitely helps with gaming. However, the 90Hz and 120Hz displays seen on these Android phones can also improve the overall Android experience, and OnePlus already made use of 90Hz screens on the OnePlus 7 Pro. On the other side of the fence, Apple has upped the refresh rate on its iPad Pro and users have been dying to get the same great experience on their iPhones.
Google has been rumored to be planning an upgraded 90Hz refresh rate on the upcoming Pixel 4 flagships, and Android 10 just delivered more proof to support those rumors.
Looking at the just-released Android 10 source code, xda-developers found features that Google hasn’t advertised so far:
For example, one commit describes content-based fps detection while another describes the implementation of an overlay to show when the device is running at 60Hz versus 90Hz.
These findings, however, were not enough to prove that the Pixel 4 will indeed feature a 90Hz display because Android also powers all those other devices, including gaming phones, that have screens with higher refresh rates. But the Android 10 source code also contains a comment in a commit that indicates that the Pixel 4 will indeed have a 90Hz display. The commit has been removed, but it’s still available in the commit history:
The screenshot above shows the code in question. It refers to a toggle that can be used to enable or disable 90Hz, and it’s only intended to be used temporarily. What’s relevant is that it notes the switch to toggle 90Hz “should only be available to P19 devices.” P19 likely stands for Pixel 2019 handsets, and the only devices that qualify are the upcoming Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Google released the Pixel 3a series earlier this year, but those are mid-range devices that don’t feature such advanced displays.
A different section of the code also seems to indicate that Android will detect when a video is playing so the Pixel 4 can adjust the refresh rate accordingly. The Pixel 4 series is expected to drop in early October and hit stores a few weeks later, so we don’t have much longer to wait until all this is confirmed.