Earlier this morning Google released its Android 11 Beta 3 update for the Pixel lineup of devices. This is the final beta update prior to Google releasing the stable version of Android 11 for Pixel users.
With the Beta 3 update, the force 90Hz option on Pixel 4 has been spotted and this time with a different name. It was missing on the Android 11 beta 2 update. So this makes for a nice surprise for users that appreciated it before.
Initially, the Pixel 4 was launched with Android 10. It also came with a hidden setting to force a 90Hz refresh rate on the display.
The Pixel 4 has a variable refresh rate. But the device would often switch to a 60Hz refresh rate. So, by enabling the force 90Hz option users can run their Pixel 4 at the higher refresh all the time.
Force 90Hz on Pixel 4 is now Smooth Display
As previously mentioned, the prior build of Android 11 which was the second beta, was missing this option. But with this update, Google decided to bring it back with a new name. It can still be found in developer options, only now it goes by the name "smooth display."
AndroidPolice confirmed that enabling this setting from developer does what the earlier "Force 90Hz" used to do. So it's basically the same thing with a different title.
That being said, using this setting for the display is going to impact the life of the battery throughout the day. The Pixel 4 and 4 XL have 2,800mAh and 3,700mAh capacities for their batteries respectively. And combining the displays on these two phones along with a 90Hz refresh rate will definitely cause more battery drain.
Previously, we had seen the display flickering issue which was caused by slightly different gamma calibrations in the two different refresh rates as the phone switches between them.
The only workaround was to enable the force 90Hz refresh rate which was later on removed with Beta 2. Google fixed that screen flickering issue with the Android 11 Beta 2.5 update came in the third week of July 2020.
Google changing the name to "smooth display" from "force 90Hz" could mean that the future Pixel devices could run on a different refresh rate than 90Hz. The Pixel 5 for example could come with a 120Hz display. As could the rumored foldable Pixel devices.
In recent news, Google has even discontinued Pixel 4 series in the US which could potentially mean that the launch of new Pixel devices is imminent.
Most probably we can expect to see new Pixel devices alongside the release of stable Android 11. New releases and launches by google usually takes place in either September or October.