Feature: Android 4.2 "Daydream" mode

Feature: Android 4.2
One of the new features of Android 4.2 that hasn't gotten much mention recently is the new "Daydream" mode. It hasn't gotten much play because unlike the other major updates like the gesture keyboard, Daydream mode is a flashy extra, but it is quite a nice one. If you've gotten the Android 4.2 update, you'll find Daydream kind of hidden in Settings>Display>Daydream. 

It is essentially a screensaver, although it will only turn on under certain conditions. You can set your Android device to start Daydreaming either when the device is docked, when it is charging, or both. As the Daydream mode, users can choose between having the device display the clock, shifting colors, Google Currents headlines, or photos. 

The clock and colors are fairly basic (although the clock has a nice feature to set the display to a "very dim mode", which is great for a bedside table), but this may be the first interesting use of Google Currents that we've seen. Currents has always been somewhat overshadowed by other apps that do the same sort of thing like Flipboard, Pulse News, or Feedly. Unfortunately, we say it is an interesting use of Currents because it isn't exactly useful. While it is nice to see the headline scroll of Currents in Daydream, it isn't interactive at all, so you can't tap an interesting headline to jump into the story. So, the whole thing ends up feeling a bit pointless.

Photos can be displayed in two different modes, either a slideshow, or as a "photo table" (basically a collage). For either option, users can choose to show photos that are on the device, or select any or all of your Google+/Picasa photo albums to cycle through. That is a great option for anyone who uses Google+/Picasa, or keeps all of their photos on their Android device at all times. But, if you use Flickr, Facebook, or Instagram, and don't keep copies on your device, this feature won't really do much for you.

Overall, Daydream mode is a nice new feature, and we can see some pretty interesting potential there for offering more options, but it definitely feels like a first attempt, and there is a reason why the feature is a bit buried. We'd love to see more services be able to hook into it, and we'd love to see the displays be more interactive, especially with headlines. 

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22 Comments

1. nwright94 unregistered

Now that is cool. Gonna love this feature when I get my Nexus 7 this Christmas :)

2. ODabaja unregistered

Cool, will definitely look into this on my Note II

3. imkyle

Posts: 1112; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

On the Galaxy Nexus its really unique.

4. Aeires unregistered

I was going to try this on my N7 (got the update this morning) until I remembered I moved all my wallpapers to Google Drive. Doh

5. BadAssAbe

Posts: 507; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

Fail! Should be full screen with no on-screen buttons while daydream mode. On-screen buttons cause a huge screen burn-in, Really noitceable when watching a movie with the screen rotated upsidedown.

6. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

True dat

7. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

There are no on-screen buttons in daydream mode, just the very very faint grey dots that replace the buttons when you're doing stuff.

9. BadAssAbe

Posts: 507; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

I'm talking about the huge black bar! It leaves a huge black bar at the bottom. I didnt known i would have to explain this to some in PA If it was a amoled with no backlight in blacks then it might not be a problem. (I have heard of bad amoled burnin)

10. Aeires unregistered

So you're saying the black bar will burn in the screen? That's a new one for me, never heard of the color black causing screen burns.

11. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Sorry, obviously I should have know that you were trying to say that a black bar somehow causes screen burn when you said "Should be full screen with no on-screen buttons while daydream mode. On-screen buttons cause a huge screen burn-in" How could I ever have misinterpreted that?

14. BadAssAbe

Posts: 507; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

Look i was wrong to put onscreen buttons instead of bottom black bar but if this is a LCD screen, all blackbars will leave a burnin. I dont know about AMOLED

15. AWiseGuy

Posts: 68; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

It's an LCD screen. Why didn't you just look that up? You're on a site where you are all of a couple clicks away from that info. It's also all over the internet, including other tech sites and Wikipedia.

20. rjparker1

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

NO they will NOT.. even if that were true the time to actually SEE burnin would be WELL beyond the life span of the usual phone, which these days means 2 to 3 years AT MOST, you won't have your phone long enough to even care!

12. imkyle

Posts: 1112; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

Shut the f**k up. Leave PA.

19. rjparker1

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

Just want to clarify..someone is living in the PAST. Screen burn-in ONLY happens on CRT (Cathode Ray tube) devices, as in TV sets older than 15 years or more. Burn in is a state where the electron gun BURNS (as in radiation) on the screen.. LCD, LED, OMLED, Retinal displays.. etc... do NOT *NOT* do this, you can leave an LCD, LED, etc.. screen on for 100 years with the SAME ICON in the SAME PLACE, and turn the brightness ALL the way up. Turn the device off and you will see ZERO (as an absolutely none) artifacts. Therefore this information about screen burn in is INCORRECT, WRONG, and basically useless.

21. TomAlexDark unregistered

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Plasma TVs can still be susceptible to burn-in, if they don't use something to combat it (e.g. pixel shifting). Image persistence, which is a temporary form of burn-in, does sometimes occur in LCD screens. To completely dismiss it as not existing anymore is very naive. With regards to Daydream, it's more of a battery saver/gimmick than a solution to combat burn-in, as there is no need for new technology to solve a problem that has already been addressed.

22. RonAshman

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 11, 2014

I'm sorry but I gotta disagree. This is from a LCD phone screen: tinyurl.com/lnqj5hr This is from a phone on display in a store, it has the keyboard burned. You can see it all the time, right from the moment you power it on. It does happen.

8. loki1717

Posts: 6; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

This is very similar to a function of the HP Touchpad when placed on the touchstone.

13. webOSlove unregistered

Daydream mode? More like webOS Exhibition .... Matias Duarte is stealing little by little, but I honestly think its good. This proves that webOS was an amazing product, and all it needed was proper care.

16. Jayray78

Posts: 13; Member since: Jun 01, 2011

"when docked" Did I miss something? When did the N7 get a dock?

17. jtbrown3

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

One BIG issue with the Daydream feature is that LED notifications are automatically turned 'off' while Daydream is active. If it wern't for this bug, Daydream would be an otherwise excellent 'screensaver' . Fix this Google!

18. catellie

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 03, 2012

Try the WatchIt! daydream - it will show any notifications or toasts from any app, including the FULL text of the expanded notification when available. Very useful IMHO.

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