After a T-Mobile update to Android Pie, my Always on Display was no longer displaying. It seems like in Pie it initially defaults to only displaying with a touch to the screen. To change this, go to Settings, Lock Screen -> Always on Display – some of these setting screens have additional options if you scroll down. For example, the AoD settings page initially looks like this:
… but if you scroll down you’ll see additional options, including ‘Display Mode’:
Press Display Mode and change from ‘Tap to Show’ to ‘Show Always’ :
It’s interesting how some tech product features come and go over time. It’s not the first time we’ve had a dockable phone that converts into a desktop replacement while in it’s dock. We’ve had the Motorola Atrix with it’s dual boot Android and Linux WebTop desktop when inserted into its laptop dock or docking cradle. Motorola’s Lapdock also supported a number of other Android phones that had the same capability (include the Droid Bionic, Droid Razr).
More recently, Microsoft’s Lumia 950 with Window Mobile’s Continuum feature tried to bring us the promise of a mobile Windows device that you could dock while not on the go to provide a Windows desktop experience from the same device.
Today’s Samsung Unpacked 2017 event introduced the expected S8 and S8+. It’s an incredibly attractive new flagship device that is most likely going to sell like hotcakes, despite even the disaster that was the Note 7. The curious wildcard feature though is a new feature called DeX that allows you to dock your phone into a docking cradle and use it as a desktop.
The idea of a completely clear phone that you can look through and which projects data onto the world that you see through it’s lens is not completely sci-fi when you think about what we’ve seen already with products like Google Glass, and the upcoming Microsoft Hololens. Google Glass was not true augmented reality though, as it presented data to you in a screen to the side of your vision, and not presenting images blended into your normal field of view.
Oculus has been paving the way for the past few years with the development of their VR headset, recently being released in March this year (2016) after the company was bought by Facebook for a staggering $2bn. Clearly, there’s serious interest in the technology and application of VR. There’s been a number of different phone related VR headsets, like Samsung’s Gear VR developed by Oculus, the HTC Vive, and others. The upcoming launch of the Playstation VR headset set for October 13 could be the one that bring’s VR to the masses. At $399 (but requiring a PS4 console), riding on the Sony and Playstation brand this could bring VR into many households this holiday season.
A couple of stories recently caught my attention. Robert Scoble has recently been tweeting about an Apple patent for a completely transparent phone, a solid piece of glass, with the electronics tucked into a narrow strip a the bottom. The patent is from 2014, but he makes some guesses in his longer post on Medium about where he thinks Apple are heading with this. Based on discussions with hardware and material suppliers he draws some conclusions about what he thinks Apple are planning. He also thinks a device using this technology might be coming much sooner than we think, as soon as September 2017. I won’t summarize everything he covers in his article, you can read it for yourself, but he does paint an interesting picture of the possibility of a tech giant like Apple making a serious move in the AR/VR space. Could Apple be about to bring this technology to everyday consumers, like they did for portable music players and the smartphone? Time will tell.
The second story from earlier this year is the $780m in funding raised by Magic Leap, a company developing AR related technology. Google is also behind $542m of this funding. What’s interesting about Magic Leap is that they’ve been largely off the radar, but have apparently developed a technique of realistically presenting images directly into the user’s field of view. They don’t yet have a beta product, and whatever they have in the works is being kept under wraps. Whatever they have, there’s definitely significant movement and growing interest in this space right now, it will be interesting to see where they’re going.