Pixel 8 Leak Hints Google's Next Smartphone Aims To Replace Your Desktop

Pixel 7 side
We're still a few months out from the release of Google's next flagship smartphones, but leaks have pointed to a potentially major upgrade. The Google Pixel 8 might be able to power a desktop computing experience via USB DisplayPort alternate mode. So, you might be able to link a Pixel 8 with a monitor to get a big-screen computing experience, powered by the latest Google Tensor chip.

A source inside Google tipped Android Authority that full USB alternate mode support would arrive on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. This is the true promise of USB-C, a single plug that can do many things with the same cable you already use to charge. USB-C ports that adhere to the USB-IF standards have the ability to transmit non-USB signals over the port, for instance, Thunderbolt, HDMI, or DisplayPort.

Google has been tinkering with a desktop mode in Android for several years, but it's currently bundled up in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) in an unfinished state. The addition of the DisplayPort alt mode could signal that Google is finally ready to make Android's desktop mode a Pixel feature.

This move would make a great deal of sense with Google's current approach to Android. After years of ignoring large-screen devices, Android is again being enhanced for tablets and foldables. Many of the things that make Android usable on a large touchscreen, like resizable windows and true multitasking, also apply to a desktop environment. There are even hints that Google is sprucing up the OS for desktop-like interactions.
Google would not be the first Android heavyweight to invest in making smartphones into portable desktop machines. Motorola attempted it in the early days of Android with the Atrix 4G, which had an optional laptop-style dock that displayed a desktop UI. Samsung has supported its own desktop UI known as DeX for the last several years, too.

By unlocking the power of USB-C on the Pixels, Google could make its next flagship phone much more versatile. Of course, USB-C is still far from perfect. Ports and cables can have differing capabilities, and finding a dock that talks to your device properly can be annoying. If Google opts to make a desktop mode for the Pixels, we can only hope it will offer an official docking station.
Tags:  Google, leaks, pixel 8