Google is always looking for new innovative features to incorporate into the ever-evolving Android OS. Despite their efforts, the real eye-catching features tend to originate from OEM’s and their skinned versions of Android. Some particularly interesting features include Motorola’s Active Display, which displays key info on your screen without needing to wake the screen up, and also the tap-to-wake feature, which allows you to wake your phone by double-tapping the screen, as featured by both LG and HTC.
As such, it is no surprise that Google is taking a page out of the OEM’s books and adapting this features to be their own. For example, the Nexus 6 came with Google’s iteration of Motorola’s Active Display, dubbed the Ambient Display. It serves the same function as Moto’s Active Display but it does so with better execution. The Ambient Display shows a stack of notifications, predefined by the user and turns the color off, compared to Moto’s that required you to tap an icon to show the full notification and requires learned gestures to perform specific functions.
Of course with success comes failure, and if codes in the Android Open Source Project are to be believed, it appears that Google may have dropped the ball with their attempt at the tap-to-wake feature. Although we do see the tap-to-wake feature already in effect for the Nexus 9, it was initially destined for the Nexus 6. As of today, Google has made no mention of this failed attempt so it is hard to fathom why this feature never made it to the Nexus 6. It is possible that the code itself was bugged or maybe even that Google had faith in its Ambient Display and thought it sufficient. If you think about it, it is not a stretch to say that incorporating both the Ambient Display and tap-to-wake features into a single device maybe counter-productive and also battery taxing.
For now, the ball is in Google’s court to clear the air.