Pixel 8 series getting support for display output over USB-C

Google Pixel 8 Mint AM AH 2

With its Pixel 8 series, Google’s recent move will completely change the game for individuals who want a desktop-like experience using their handsets. Through the latest Android beta, DisplayPort Alternate Mode is now reportedly available for Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro users. Using the feature, they can connect their phones to external displays via USB port.

Pixel 8 display output paves the way for a DeX-like experience

Before, Google’s Pixel line did not support display outputs, which resulted in difficulty mirroring phone screens on external monitors by users. But display port alternate mode is a major departure that could open these devices to more capabilities like those in Samsung DeX mode.

The mode facilitates transmitting mobile display output via USB-C connectors as it stands. This means it has become far easier for Pixel 8 users to connect their phone to an external monitor using widely available HDMI adapters. On previous Google Pixels, the manufacturer allegedly disabled this feature using flags while it existed on the hardware level. However, Pixel 8 devices have updated to enable this mode.

The reason behind this move may suggest an interest from Google to improve its Android built-in desktop mode, one that has been under development since Android version 10. Even though the present desktop mode is basic and aimed at developers only, efforts are being made to point out enhanced usage for future Android releases. Perhaps from Android versions starting with number fifteen.

The feature may only be available for Pixel 8 devices and above

In the second beta released recently with Android 14 qpr3, Google changed the firmware so that Pixel 8’s Display Port Alternate mode would turn on by default, enabling users to mirror their screens or access the simple desktop modes. In addition, although the revamped desktop experience is still behind many flags, these steps indicate a move toward a flexible smartphone computing environment.

It raises questions about whether Android’s new-looked-at-desktop-mode would accompany Google’s new family of smartphones, the Pixel 9. On the other hand, users with older Pixel models (with no support for DisplayPort Alternate Mode) have a way out via DisplayLink adapters. These adapters allow screen sharing by capturing, compressing, and transmitting screen data to HDMI-enabled devices.

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