As it turns out, the Pixel 4 wasn’t always going to be the first Google phone with a high-refresh-rate display. In a podcast, the Pixel team confirmed that, at one point, there were talks of using a 120Hz LCD panel on the Pixel 3 instead of the 60Hz OLED panel we ended up with.

In the Android Developers Backstage Podcast (available on Google Podcasts, highlighted by XDA), some interesting behind-the-scenes details regarding the Pixel lineup were revealed. This includes using a high brightness mode in HDR settings as well as a neat tidbit about the Pixel 4’s haptics that are coupled to the audio of ringtones and alarms.

The most interesting detail, though, came from Android developer relations member Chet Haase. He explained that for “various reasons,” the smaller Pixel 3 phone from 2018 wasn’t originally going to be using an OLED display. It’s unclear what those reasons were, but as an alternative, 120Hz LCD panels were a topic of conversation.

Haase says that “one of the considerations” was a 120Hz LCD panel on the Pixel 3, and that the team had been impressed after using a Sharp device with the same display.

Notably, at the time, 120Hz OLED panels were not yet available. In the time since, we’ve seen ASUS bring this technology to market in the ROG Phone II. At the end of the day, it’s probably for the best that the Pixel 3 used an OLED panel just like the Pixel 3 XL, but it’s a bit fun to imagine a world where Google delivered a 120 Hz panel well before the competition.

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Ben Schoon

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