Many of this year’s flagship smartphones feature always-on displays to deliver notifications and other relevant information. According to SamMobile, Samsung is working on a new notification system that consists of a ring of lights around the camera bump. Smart Glow would pulse for incoming notifications and deliver useful information on future devices, like the Galaxy S8.
Smart Glow consists of multi-colored LEDs arranged as a ring around the camera bump and will first launch on the upcoming Galaxy J2 (2016). It will be more than just a replacement for LED notification lights with “Samsung expect[ing] it to become an important mode of interaction.”
At launch Smart Glow on the Galaxy J2 will have three functions. Priority alerts will allow contacts to be assigned colors that light up when a call, message, or email is received. Usage alerts will provide phone information like battery and charging status. And lastly, Selfie assist will pulse blue when a face is detected on the rear camera and take a picture two seconds later.
Future devices will feature even more functionality, including Usage alerts for storage, memory, and data usage. One cool Selfie assist feature will use Smart Glow to direct users to the center of a frame when snapping a picture.
Also in development is a Weather and Health ring for future devices like the Galaxy S8. The Weather ring will glow to represent the current weather when a phone is shaken and the Health ring leverages the rear camera and flash to monitor heart rate.
While some of these ideas sound useful, it is questionable whether they are faster and more convenient than just unlocking the phone. Additionally, users might be overloaded in trying to remember what each light stands for.