Google Pixel could get free upgrade to make it better to use in bad weather

Pixel phones are already smart but this change would make them smarter

Google Pixel 8 Pro
(Image credit: Future)
Quick Summary

Google Pixel phones may soon address the issue of unresponsive displays.

Hidden in Android 14 Beta code, a feature called "touch sensitivity" is expected to automatically adjust display performance based on environmental conditions and screen protectors.

We've all been there: the rain is lashing down, you're jabbing at the screen of your phone and nothing is happening.

However, that could be a thing of the past for Google Pixel phones, with new details suggesting that Google might be about to make a smart move to fix it.

Modern smartphones are all about the display and one of the biggest barriers to use is a display that's not responsive enough. In box-fresh conditions in perfect weather, sure, your phone will do exactly what you want it to - but when you're in more adverse conditions, when you need your phone to respond without delay, it can get frustrating.

Hiding in the code of an Android 14 Beta release, Mishaal Rahman (via Android Police) found a string of code reading "Touch sensitivity will automatically adjust to your environment, activities and screen protector".

Currently the Pixel 8 Pro offers a manual "screen protector mode" in the settings that you have to toggle on. That's fine because it's a one-time option - if you have a screen protector, you turn it on.

But Rahman's digging revealed a new menu in the Beta software that separated "Touch sensitivity" into a new sub-section. At the time of the discovery, it only mentions the existing screen protector option, but it suggests that other elements of screen touch sensitivity - for those weather or environmental conditions - could be added.

Google is always looking for ways to make the Pixel phones smarter, helping make it one of the best phone options out there. The Pixel camera has been using a host of AI smarts for a number of years, calling has been revolutionised through call screening and other technologies, and it looks like improving the screen performance is next on the list.

New features regularly surface in Android betas, some find their way to the famous Pixel Drops to update existing devices, some become a major part of Android and some fall by the wayside and never make final release. I'd love to see the Pixel offer better touch responsiveness in those harsher conditions: whether it's boosting the display reaction in the rain or when you've got sweaty hands after a run, that can only be a good thing, right?

Chris Hall

Chris has been writing about consumer tech for over 15 years. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of Pocket-lint, he's covered just about every product launched, witnessed the birth of Android, the evolution of 5G, and the drive towards electric cars. You name it and Chris has written about it, driven it or reviewed it. Now working as a freelance technology expert, Chris' experience sees him covering all aspects of smartphones, smart homes and anything else connected. Chris has been published in titles as diverse as Computer Active and Autocar, and regularly appears on BBC News, BBC Radio, Sky, Monocle and Times Radio. He was once even on The Apprentice... but we don't talk about that.