The “always-on display” was a trend for 2016, appearing on flagships from Samsung and LG alike. Whenever this feature was referred to however, it was always compared with the same thing, Motorola’s ambient display. The comparison was pretty obvious, and now Motorola is flat-out accusing Samsung of stealing the feature.
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Over on Twitter, Moto came out to ask “In what galaxy is it okay to steal competitor phones’ cool features?”. The statement, clearly aimed at Samsung, was then followed by #TheOriginalAlwaysOnDisplay. While Motorola definitely had the most memorable version of this feature, it definitely wasn’t “the original”.
Looking back through older smartphones, we first see an “always-on display” on several Nokia devices, both within the Symbian and Windows Phone spaces. These both used low-power modes to show the time all hours of the day, and it was a great addition. Motorola later improved on the feature by adding interaction with your notifications, which is why we all remember it so well, and why we’ve seen it on nearly every device from the company since the original Moto X back in 2013.
Now we can fast forward to 2016 and see Samsung’s implementation on the Galaxy S7. Here the feature simply shows the time, with a handful of specific notifications such as phone calls and text messages. Now with the Galaxy Note 7, the feature shows all notifications. Odds are it was that improvement that prompted Motorola’s tweet.
Bottom line, it doesn’t really matter who did it first. Features like this are incredibly useful, so they are bound to be “borrowed” eventually. So chill out Moto…