The beauty of Android is that whatever nice feature someone can think of, someone else will find a way to mimic it and turn it into an app. That’s true for Apple’s Control Center, but also for Motorola’s Active Display, one of the most interesting features of the newly launched Moto X.
To be clear, ActiveNotifications is a work in progress that doesn’t offer yet a perfect simulation of the functionality on the Moto X. The app, released yesterday on the Play Store by XDA-Developers user niko001, requires Android 4.3 to run, because it makes use of the Notification Listener service that Google added to the latest version of Android. Preferably, your device should feature an AMOLED display, so the app doesn’t draw too much energy.
So, how does it work? When you receive a notification, such as from Gmail or a text, the display on your device will show the notification icon and a preview, allowing you to swipe to open it. The developer also tried to emulate the behavior of the Moto X that prevents the notification ring from showing when the device is face down on a desk or inside the user’s pocket. The idea is to get access to notifications without powering up the device, thus saving time and energy.
Here’s the bit from our Kris Wouk’s Moto X review where he talks about Active Display:
So far, the reviews for ActiveNotifications are positive, although users did raise a few issues, such as the absence of the “breathing” effect that Motorola uses. Devices running Android 4.3 or custom ROMs that are based on Android 4.3 are scarce for now, but niko001 says he might bring the app to devices running older versions if there’s enough interest for it.