Samsung Leak Reveals 'Smart Glow' Rear-Side Notification System for Phones

Thursday June 16, 2016 3:27 AM PDT by Tim Hardwick

An interesting leak has emerged online this morning that suggests Samsung is about to bring a new type of light notification technology to the rear case of its smartphones.

Android phones often come with a separate notification LED on the front of the handset that alerts users to missed messages and calls. Otherwise, notifications are usually assumed to relate to the display of a mobile device.

However, leaked specs and images that appeared on Dutch mobile tech site Galaxy Club show a new type of notification system for the back of a phone that Samsung is calling 'Smart Glow'.

Samsung Smart Glow

Smart Glow system expected to appear in the Samsung Galaxy J2 (Image: Galaxy Club)

The system features a luminous ring that runs around the handset's rear camera lens and which lights up to alert users, glowing different colors depending on the function in use.

For example, the ring of light will glow to indicate that the rear camera has detected a face, allowing the user to take a selfie with the superior-quality rear lens.

The Smart Glow technology may also be used to communicate alerts when the handset has been placed face down on a surface, allowing users to choose specific colors to indicate particular notification types. Colors will also show when the battery is running low or when it has reached a full charge.

The website suggests that the notification system will appear in the Samsung Galaxy J2, due to launch in India later this year. The feature has yet to be officially announced by Samsung, so the likelihood of its appearance in the company's flagship phones like the Galaxy Note 7 remains unknown.

The idea that Apple might one day try something similar with a future iPhone is not impossible. The most obvious candidate for the implementation of a rear notification system is the iconic Apple logo that appears on the rear of every iPhone.

The same logo on a MacBook lid glows whenever the laptop is opened, and speculation that Apple planned to use a lighted logo on its phones has existed ever since iPhone 6 leaks began appearing showing a chassis cut-out and the use of an embedded logo.

Those rumors were never realized, although third-party hacks do exist that allow iPhone 6 owners to make the logo on their handsets light up using LEDs.

Early rumors for next year's so-called "iPhone 8" suggest the Cupertino company won't debut a spec-bumped, internally upgraded "iPhone 7s", but a completely overhauled handset with major design changes and new, next-generation features, like wireless charging, a Touch ID-equipped OLED display, and no home button.

At its Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this week, Apple announced a raft of updates to notifications and the way that developers are able to present them to users in iOS 10. No hardware announcements accompanied the conference, however.

Update: One of our forum members has noted that a setting in iOS 9's Accessibility options enables visual notifications on an iPhone using the rear LED flash. To use the setting, open the Settings app, tap General -> Accessibility, and Toggle LED Flash for Alerts to ON.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tag: Samsung

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
50 months ago
I always thought the iPhone could use something like this around the home button (replacing thin metal ring) green for iMessage, red for missed calls.. But now I have an Apple watch so whatevs!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago

Can't wait for part two of the article containing the interesting parts.

Don't be so grumpy Taipan, myself and others found this article interesting.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago
You guys dont see the possibility besides notifications?

* Siri remind me to call my mom when I get home... Ring flashes slowly (Pretty much to the same rythm as a sleeping MacBook) indicating that I gave a callback/textback to do.
* Flashes blue when fingerprint is required for Apple Pay
* Turns yellow when low battery mode is on
* An animation of the ring filling up could represent the battery charging up
* An animation when invoking "Hey Siri"
* Rapidly blinks in red when in lost mode


These are just a few.. The possibilities are endless!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago

I just press the home button and I can see what messages I missed...

Lol, nevermind then! I guess NOBODY would benefit from being able to see at a glance whether they have a missed call or unread text without touching their phone, or lighting up the screen,because you currently press the home button (umm... btw, that's currently the ONLY option, so we probably didn't need for you to mention that).
Seriously, why can't some people get over themselves????!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago

I don't have my phone out at meetings/dinner/etc as it is very rude.

It is in my pocket on silent in such a situation.

When at home my phone is on bedside or next to my pc while im using it face up so the coloured led is visable.

I never put phone face down as it will mark the face, unless it is on the bed or soft furnishing.

I have an armoured case for my s7 edge and the case has cut out for rear red light which is used for heart rate but case obscures it a little so heart rate not always detected.
So even with cut out it may not be always visible.

Is that UK good manners you're observing, or your personal good manners? Where I live in the US, east coast mid-Atlantic region, everyone seems to always have their smart phones out and checking them, whether at meetings or dinner or social events. I don't see people doing that as much down south, so even in the US smart phone etiquette might vary by region. West coast manners seemed the same as my area, but I'm never there long enough to be certain.

At social events we use them to snap pictures, so there's that excuse. But I could be at a social event and my friends will pull out their phones and start texting or posting to social media while still chatting with me. I never thought to be offended because that seems to be the norm here. At restaurants smartphones are ubiquitous.

Also, everyone seems to always be connected to work all the time. My husband and many of my friends have to take work related calls at all hours. One of my friends in sales seems to never be off of his phone. It does make it hard to socialize with him. He's European, so if the manners are different outside of the US, he has adopted our ways by necessity.

I think you sound very considerate.

Having the Apple Watch does make it easier to be connected surreptitiously to all of our notifications, but if you're caught glancing at the watch too often people do think you're checking the time and wanting to get away from them.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
50 months ago

Their displays for one. Samsung pay is actually more versatile than Apple Pay right now. Their chip fabrication. But whatever - doesn't matter what I type to you. I just find it funny that you can say with a straight face that Samsung doesn't invent anything.

If you check my comment, I said their displays were good. I doubt their mobile unit comes up with the display tech. That's what their display unit does. Their mobile unit just pieces together the good work of their other units, slaps a s***ty UI on it, steals the industrial design of whatever company's phone is popular, and shoves it out the door.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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