Android Q adds support for a Smart Stay-like “Screen Attention” feature

Android Q adds support for a Smart Stay-like “Screen Attention” feature

Shortly after the release of Android Q beta 3 back during Google I/O 2019, AndroidPolice spotted a hidden setting called “Adaptive Sleep.” The team talked to Googlers at the event and confirmed that “Adaptive Sleep” is a placeholder setting for OEMs that want to implement stay-awake behavior. In Android Q beta 4, which rolled out earlier today, this feature is no longer a placeholder as it has its own graphic, a video, and a new name: Screen attention.

According to the strings for Screen attention, which is still referred to as Adaptive Sleep internally, the feature will prevent your screen from turning off while you’re looking at it. The feature uses your front-facing camera to see if you’re looking at the screen. This is similar to Samsung’s Smart Stay feature which has been around for years on Galaxy smartphones.

<string name="adaptive_sleep_description">Prevents your screen from turning off if you’re looking at it.</string>
<string name="adaptive_sleep_privacy">Screen attention uses the front camera to see if someone is looking at the screen. It works on device, and images are never stored or sent to Google.</string>
<string name="adaptive_sleep_summary_off">Off</string>
<string name="adaptive_sleep_summary_on">On / Screen won’t turn off if you’re looking at it</string>
<string name="adaptive_sleep_title">Screen attention</string>

The video below will be shown to the user in the feature description in Settings > Display > Screen attention.

According to the code, there are only two requirements to enable Screen attention:

  1. The boolean framework value config_adaptive_sleep_available must be set to true.
  2. The calling app must hold the permission android.permission.CAMERA.

These requirements are easily met by most Android devices, so I’m not sure why the feature isn’t already accessible to Google Pixel smartphones. It’s possible Google is saving the feature for a debut on the Pixel 4 after which the company will enable it on other Pixel devices. In any case, we’ll be keeping an eye out on this and other features we find to let you know when they go live.

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