Samsung's mobile desktop platform, DeX, might finally get a serious competitor later this year. And if you've watched how the Samsung x Google partnership changed over the past couple of years, you shouldn't be surprised to hear that Google may be working on its own DeX-like feature.
Ever since Samsung and Google joined forces to create App Continuity for foldable phones, and more specifically, ever since Samsung left Tizen behind for Wear OS on its smartwatches, the Korean tech giant appears to have become a throve of inspiration for Google's mobile software design.
The Pixel Fold unveiled at I/O earlier this year borrows many UI/UX design ideas from the Galaxy Z Fold series. And the Pixel Tablet also draws inspiration from the One UI platform, as it boasts things like easy drag-and-drop split-screen functionality, a taskbar that users can bring up at any time by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, and Google apps that finally embrace the large screen form factor.
And now, new evidence suggests that the upcoming Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro could be paying homage to One UI and Samsung's flagship phones in at least one big way: they might offer a DeX-like desktop environment for productivity.
Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro USB DisplayPort alternate mode holds the clue
An inside source at Google said the upcoming Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro support USB DisplayPort alternate mode (via Android Authority). This “alternate mode” is specific to USB-C and allows the standard to be used for other things, such as charging or transmitting video data. In essence, this means the USB-C port on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro has been souped up to be able to transmit DisplayPort data — which is not unlike the USB-C port Samsung uses for its mobile devices that boast the DeX environment.
This new rumored feature, along with other recent clues indicating that Google is working on improving its existing Desktop mode with a better UI and improved keyboard support, suggests that the search engine giant might be developing a more advanced DeX-like feature for its upcoming Pixel 8 series.
And in case you are wondering, Google has had a desktop mode hidden in the developer options menu since Android 10. You haven't heard of it? Needless to say, this feature never even got close to being as useful, polished, and complete as Samsung DeX. But now that Google released a new tablet for the first time in years, a DeX contender might finally happen. And by the looks of it, the Pixel 8 series might be the first phones to offer it once they presumably go on sale later this year.