Google has a history of releasing phones that require a slew of patches and updates over the course of several weeks to months. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are no different in this regard.
Upon launch, the latest Pixels had memory management problems, issues with photos not saving, extra notches appearing, and several more bugs. One of the most persistent issues that is still present is related to the Ambient display setting.
Thousands of Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL users have reported that their screens flash white when waking up with the Ambient display enabled. Several hundred people have reported the issue directly through Google's Issue Tracker, with untold numbers of frustrated Pixel owners who never knew the Issue Tracker even existed. Google dropped the ball on this one and has failed to properly address the issue. Refusing to acknowledge a well known and frequently reported problem is a move straight from the Steve Jobs and Tim Cook playbook. At least Google did not blame the end user on this one, but intentionally ignoring a problem and hoping it magically will go away is one of the most cowardly responses a company can give.
It is not that Google has not seen the problem or is not aware of it. In fact, there are many users out there who have told stories of having their phones replaced just days after initial launch due to this specific bug. So now that there are over five months of reports piling up and a countless number of phones being replaced on a regular basis, a Google spokesperson has confirmed that the problem exists. Not only that, but Google is also nearly ready with a software fix to prevent displays from erratically flashing when waking up from sleep. Yet the Issue Tracker shows no signs of acknowledgement and Google opted only to provide a very brief background via email instead of simply offering a quote stating that the problem will be fixed soon.
As part of the April security update, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are also supposed to receive a patch that will fix the screen flashing issue.
The update will be rolled out in the coming weeks. Once it is available, we will see if Google can finally get the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL working for users the way they were supposed to back on launch day.
Handling of issues such as these are rarely something you come across when reading reviews or watching your favorite YouTube personalities give a rundown on the latest and greatest available. As much as it would be great to see the Pixel series become more than just a good camera that can make phone calls, ignoring your most vocal users and having poor communication is a surefire way to make sure that Google hardware remains mediocre at best.