Pixel 2 XL screen burn-in: Google says software update incoming

Google VP promises software update to address the Pixel 2 XL's apparent screen burn in on some early units. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL now come with a two year warranty, too.

Google Pixel 2 XL (CNET/CBS Interactive)

Google's launch of the Pixel 2 XL took a nasty turn when reports of screen burn in on the handset's LG-made display began to surface. On Thursday, Google responded saying it's testing a software update to address the issue, but said the "differential aging is in line with that of other premium smartphones" and shouldn't affect daily use.

Screen burn in issues began to surface over the weekend. Android Central's executive editor Alex Dobie posted an image on Twitter of the Pixel 2 XL's screen on Twitter, which shows the white navigation icons are still visible when the display should be a solid gray. Google responded shortly after that it was looking into the issue.

Google's VP of product management Mario Queiroz on Thursday wrote in a blog post:

We're currently testing a software update that further enhances protections against this issue by adding a new fade-out of the navigation bar buttons at the bottom of the Pixel screen after a short period of inactivity. In addition, we're working with more apps to use a light navigation bar to match their app's color scheme. The update will also reduce the maximum brightness of the Pixel 2 XL by a virtually imperceptible 50 cd/m2 (nits), thereby significantly reducing load on the screen with an almost undetectable change in the observed brightness.
Signs of Pixel 2 XL screen burn-in were apparent after a week of light use (Image: Alex Dobie/Twitter).

Queiroz added (via The Verge) Google's investigation has "given us confidence that our displays are as great as we hoped they would be, though we're also taking steps to address the concerns we've heard."

It's not clear how many devices are effected by the burn-in issue, and if it's hardware or software related. Unlike the Pixel 2 XL, the smaller Pixel 2 uses a display made by Samsung.

Early Pixel 2 XL users also complained of a narrow color gamut. Queiroz said another update will introduce a "saturated color mode." Queiroz wrote:

The saturated mode puts the display into an unmanaged configuration, similar to how the Pixel 1 operates. The colors will be more saturated and vibrant, but less accurate (similar to most other smartphones which display more vibrant colors): we give consumers the option to choose the color saturation.

Google said the "saturated color mode" will be made available in an update in the coming weeks. It didn't detail when the screen burn-in update will land, but said "we'll make ongoing software updates to optimize further."

In an attempt to give users "peace of mind," every Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will now come with a 2-year warranty worldwide.