By far the biggest complaint we had (along with the rest of the tech reviewing world) about the Pixel 4 was its astonishingly bad battery life. Even the larger 4 XL suffered, but the smaller suffered so much that we could not consciously recommend the phone to anyone but the Google die hards.
Although we are some months away from the Pixel 5, a comment on Android Open Source Platform (AOSP) message boards might have given away that Google is working on an ultra low power mode. It was spotted by XDA’s Mishaal Rahman:
Speculation: "Ultra low power" mode may be a feature of the Pixel 5. This commit was just submitted to AOSP by a "System Power Engineer" at Google.https://t.co/KEDUdTPIi8— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 10, 2020
It's a generic implementation without framework hooks for now, but that'll likely change soon.
The comment has since been deleted but said:
“This mode indicates Ultra Low power mode is activated or not. Ultra Low power mode is intended to save battery at the cost of user experience.”
Rahman has a good track record with deciphering such complex clues, and said the engineer who posted the comment has only previously posted about the Pixel 4, leading to speculation that this a future Pixel-only feature.
At the moment, most Android phones only have one level of low power mode. Samsung devices, for example, have a two stage power saving option: medium and maximum. This coding clue could mean that Google intends to give the Pixel 4 an ultra low power mode to mitigate its terrible battery life.
We hope this is the case for two reasons. While not ideal as these modes tend to strip back all the useful functionality of a phone, at least it might keep the Pixel 4 alive all day or in an emergency away from the charger. But second, we hope it’s the case because otherwise it could mean it’s specifically for the Pixel 5.
We’re jumping to conclusions slightly, but we’d much rather Google just stuck a much larger battery in the Pixel 5 rather than develop low power mode software. If the feature does crop up, it could be on the Pixel 4a, Pixel 5 – or maybe even eventually as an option for all Android phones. It wouldn’t be the worst outcome if that was the case.
But Google – please give the Pixel 5 a much larger battery.