Google finally gives your Pixel 8 external display support

Here’s a concise summary:

Google has introduced wired external display support for the Pixel 8, offering a desktop-like experience similar to Samsung’s DeX mode. This feature was absent in older Pixel models, which depended on DisplayLink adapters for wired screen mirroring. Google is also developing a comprehensive UI for Android’s desktop mode, which may be released with Android 15 and the Pixel 9 series.

Credit: Gadget360

Android tablets are increasingly resembling notebooks, but Android phone users have fewer options. Samsung offers near desktop-like functionality with DeX mode via a simple USB-C connection, but other brands, including Google’s Pixel phones, didn’t support external displays until the Pixel 8.

The Pixel 8 was the first in years to support a hardware-level protocol called DisplayPort Alternate Mode, which transmits a display output signal from the phone’s USB-C port to any connected external display. Google had previously omitted this protocol, possibly to promote Chromecast and other screen mirroring utilities.

Google quietly added hardware-level support for DisplayPort Alternate Mode to the Pixel 8, and it’s now officially supported with the latest Android 14 QPR3 Beta 2 build. Pixel 8 and 8 Pro users can now mirror their display to a TV or monitor via USB-C or a USB-C to HDMI/DisplayPort adapter.

By default, users will only see their phone’s screen contents on the connected display, but they can enable a basic desktop-like experience available since Android 10 by activating Force desktop mode in the Developer options. However, the redesigned UI for desktop mode is still under development and is expected to launch with Android 15 and the Pixel 9 series.

It’s speculated that Google may not have intended to unlock DisplayPort Alternate Mode in the latest QPR beta, and it might be reversed in the next software update. If so, users of older Pixel phones without hardware-level external display support will need to use DisplayLink adapters, which record the screen, compress the data, and convert it into a video stream for the connected display to decode.

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