You might remember in our recent coverage of the Pixel 2's launcher being released to the world that a hidden dark theme was discovered embedded, deep within the launcher itself (credit to XDA). At the time of discovery, users didn't realize how exactly to activate it, or whether it was merely a test application or a remnant of a feature Google scrapped at the last minute.
However, today we have our answer, and it's a solid one that we're very happy to see - The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have native dark theme support! The dark theme is activated by simply changing your wallpaper; the phone switches to a predominantly light or dark theme depending on the brightness of your wallpaper, a-la Windows Phone. This makes for an interesting design component that is sure to add some extra flair to the UI and helps create a consistent experience. Additionally, this shows that Google is actively listening to the userbase that has been clamoring for a native dark theme for years, so it's nice to see that Google is listening to consumers with regards to its new flagship phones.
The dark theme affects the app drawer, folders, and quick settings, as it uses the Overlay Management System theme engine which was added to Android Oreo. This is the engine that allows rootless system themeing in Substratum, as we discussed in our Substratum guide. The engine is deeply embedded within the system, meaning every necessary aspect is as dark as the void where your soul is meant to go when you have this theme activated. Furthermore, due to the native nature of this theme, you won't have issues with updating applications (as you would in Substratum.) All things considered, this is a fantastic development and we're delighted to see this feature emerge on the Pixel devices. Let's hope that we can see it crawl over to other devices in the near future.
What do you think? Is this the standout feature of the Pixel for you? Are you excited for this functionality, or annoyed that Google is making more and more of its best features Pixel-exclusive? Let us know in the comments, or post over in the forums with your thoughts.