Since we discovered that Android Oreo integrates the Overlay Management System into the Android operating system, we've been waiting for Google to allow users to theme their devices dark – it's both easier on the eyes, a battery saver for AMOLED devices and just flat-out great looking. We got our first glimpse at Google's theme plans when we discovered that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have a native dark theme mode, that could be used to activate a dark theme depending on the colors of your wallpaper. Now, through the Android 8.1 Developer Preview, it's available on the first generation Pixel and Pixel XL as well as the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P – and it's safe to say we can expect to find this feature enabled on all other Android devices updated to Android 8.1 Oreo.
It seems that this feature works using the new WallpaperColours API, which we touched upon when talking about the new Android 8.1 Developer Preview. In short, the API allows apps to detect and modify the color of the wallpaper, and modify elements of the SystemUI in a thematic fashion depending on the color of the wallpaper. This allows for the stock AOSP launcher (and any third-party launchers once they implement this functionality) to detect the wallpaper color and set the theme accordingly.
While at the moment this functionality is limited to just light and dark themes, this opens up countless possibilities of wallpaper based accent colors on Android, in a similar fashion to what we see on Windows 10. Either way, that is just speculation – for now, we shall rejoice at the arrival of a long-requested Android feature; a native dark theme at long last.
What do you guys think? Is this worth getting a beta developer preview build for? Are you happy to see that Google isn't making this a Pixel-exclusive feature? Let us know in the comments, or post over in the forums with your thoughts.