As it turns out, Google’s first phone with a high refresh rate display wasn’t always going to be the Pixel 4. The Pixel team confirmed in a podcast that there were talks at one point on the Pixel 3 using a 120 Hz LCD panel instead of the 60 Hz OLED panel that we ended up with.
Some interesting behind – the-scenes info about the Pixel lineup were revealed in the Android Developers Backstage Podcast (available on Google Podcasts, highlighted by XDA). It includes the use of a high brightness mode in HDR settings as well as a neat tidbit about the haptics of the Pixel 4 along with the ringtones and alarms audio.
The most interesting detail, however, came from Chet Haase, a member of Android developer relations. He explained that the smaller 2018 Pixel 3 phone was not originally going to use an OLED display for “various reasons.” It’s unclear what those reasons were, but as an alternative, the topic of conversation was 120 Hz LCD panels.
Haase says that “one of the considerations” on the Pixel 3 was a 120 Hz OLED panel and the team was impressed with the same display after using a Sharp device.
Notably, there were no 120 Hz OLED panels available at the time. Since then, we’ve seen ASUS bring this technology to market in the ROG Phone II. It’s probably best at the end of the day that the Pixel 3 used an OLED screen like the Pixel 3 XL, but it’s a bit fun to imagine a future where Google delivered a 120 Hz panel well ahead of the competition.