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Throwback: Moto X Screen Notifications Bring Back Memories of the 2010 NoLED Days

noled android

Over the weekend, after seeing the leaked Rogers promo video of the Moto X showing a “new” feature for smartphones that would display on-screen notifications with the phone locked rather than through a notification light, I couldn’t help but be taken back to 2010. Anyone remember an app called NoLED? If not, I’ll catch you up. 

You see, there was this time a couple of years back when phones didn’t always have notification lights. I think the Samsung Galaxy S2 and many of the original Galaxy S variants were this way, so in order to see missed notifications on them, outside of a beep or two, users had to figure out other tactics. One of those was an app called NoLED, that as you can imagine was built for phones that didn’t have LED lights.

NoLED takes your incoming notifications and turns them into bright and colorful icons that float around your screen even with your phone in a locked state. So like Motorola’s new feature for the Moto X, you can quickly glance at your phone, see which apps have notifications and then decide if you want to dive into your phone or not.

It appears to still work well after all these years. In fact, it was updated last month, so I’d imagine that it’s much more efficient, stable, and battery friendly than it was a few years back. Feel free to give it a try, since it is free after all.

Ahhh, memories.

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  • artsr2002

    One thing BB did right back in the day with their smartphones. Man I remember I could see the notification light on my Curve 8330 from a mile a way. LOL. The notification light on my S3 is awesome too. Multi-color LEDs that are visible at an angle rather than straight-on only are good. Tiny far below the surface LEDs are worthless. You might as well not even bother with them.

  • Kanaga Deepan N

    It will be good for AMOLED screen equipped phones only (which doesn’t switches full backlight like in LCD)..

  • Eduardo Sandoval Salvatori
  • Raven

    All this talk of phones with no LEDs, how about tablets? Neither my Nexus 7 nor my Transformer have LEDs, so I think I am going to try this out and see if the battery life effect isn’t too bad on them.

  • dannydarko

    Damn, a blast from the past.( short past,lol). Just for old time sake, I’m gonna give another go…again.

  • carl rainey

    Maybe Verizon is limiting the customization because replacing phones would be a nightmare. Through the insurance plan they have now a replacement phone is sent to you the next day after you file your claim. They couldn’t do that if every phone was unique.

  • Allan

    The Moto X has all the makings of a major flop.

    • MBSMD

      I disagree. If it has good performance (even with less-than top-end specs), good software, smooth services integration and a power-efficient visual notification system – along with customizable colors and cases – it’s going to do very well with the vast majority of users. Most people I see with GS3s and GS4s never even change the home screen icons and default widget. Basically big feature phones. A high quality (not same as high specification) phone & user experience to most normal (i.e., people NOT on this forum) is more important than top-end specs. Look at the iPhone and the numbers sold.

  • jaybar

    IMO…no notification led/on-screen notifications = bad idea

  • rotard

    i just want to see multi color leds on all phones now. Hate that htc phones are only red and green. been using a droid3 lately after i dropped my thunderbolt and i like having the ability to have different color led notifications. Blue for txts, green for email…

    • Ryan Stewart

      I love it on my Gnexus and Nexus 4. Coupled with Lightflow you can have really powerful control over your notifications. Just by glancing at my phone on the desk I can see what type of notification and, if the person is in my inner circle enough to get a configured color, who its from.

    • Cory_S

      I loved the notification light on my Gnex. it had a nice soft glow that faded out slowly, and was beautiful. I also hated it though. When it was sitting on my desk at work and I got a google voice text or a email which I checked on the PC it would sit there and blink at me driving my OCD crazy. So, I would either flip it over or unlock it, and clear them…until the next one.

      I actually ended up setting up a NFC tag which turned the notification light off at work.

    • Miguel Angel Portela

      Love it on the Nexus 4 as well. Is it irrational that I consider this screen on thing a colossal deal breaker for the Moto X? I mean, at least the Fascinate had BLN.

  • KaiserJay

    Please note though that the app is not as battery efficient on LCD screens (everyone but Samsung users). It was really made with OLED screens in mind.

    • dafonse

      so it would work better on my galaxy note 2?

      • KaiserJay

        Samsung predominately use OLED screens, so yes.

  • Bobby Phoenix

    NoLED is still widely popular with phones that don’t have any LED notifications. I know at least six people who use it. It’s very useful.

  • Daniel

    I REALLY hope it still has a notification LED…

    • Bionic


  • Sorry, I’ve never been a fan of LED notification — a mild form of colorblindness is the main reason. It’s hard for me to distinguish colors produced by LED light.

  • Michael

    heres the scoop..you can buy it from at&t with the carrier discount..aka the $199 or whatever price, but you can buy it customized at full price for any carrier direct from moto.

    • Eric Hare

      Welp, sounds like Motorola blew it. This was supposed to be their big comeback, and as it turns out, the selling point is an… AT&T exclusive?

  • TSY87

    I prefer a multi-colored LED notification light with lightflow… I know based off the color and flash sequence exactly what type of notification it is. This “feature” is really an excuse IMHO.

    • Justin W

      In my opinion, it was more of a cost to them to develop this feature into the software and make it battery efficient than include an LED, which would be cheaper. I don’t think this is an excuse for anything – they are trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and by using the SAMOLED display for notifications would be a start.

      • j

        yea.. no. This will be cheaper no question

  • shdowman

    OMG NoLED!! Only way my Fascinate got notifications….

  • chris125

    I hope they don’t completely get rid of the led notification, I love that. This would be nice but a notification light would also be great, especially if they make it like how the galaxy nexus was.

  • John Burke

    As long as Nexus devices don’t abandon LED indicators, I’m fine with this as an option.

    • EC8CH

      If there isn’t an impact on battery life, it would make perfect sense to me.

      Why have another light on the device when the screen is capable of providing the exact same function, and actually provide more information.

      It eliminates a redundant part. Once again, so long as battery life isn’t greatly effected.

      Same logic as getting rid of capacitive buttons and using on screen buttons.

      • imns

        Because in order to use even part of the screen, the entire thing will need to draw power even if it is not active – I would venture to guess it will likely use more power than just an LED.

        • EC8CH

          If it was an LCD then yes the entire backlight would need to turn on, but the X uses AMOLED so only the pixels that light up draw any power as there is no backlight 😉

          • Paul Hansen

            Basically this. I have a hard time believing that this small portion of the screen is still less than an LED though. If it’s equivalent or even close though I’m in the same boat as EC8CH. As long as I still have to hit a hard key to activate the whole screen (read: turn off touch sensors while in this mode). I don’t need the screen to think I’m keeping it awake while in my pocket…

          • EC8CH

            Good point about the pocket. Woodside side the phone would be aware if it was in your pocket. That probably makes it possible to even turn off the on screen notification if it senses it is in a pocket..

            The demo also showed the notification text fading in and out which is probably to save energy.

          • Justin W

            I like the thoughts in this thread… All of it’s starting to come together now 🙂

            On a side note, I hope the “pocket detection” isn’t as crappy as it has been on previous devices. I’ve always had issues with it.

          • Weber

            I’ve found that the HTC pocket mode never did anything different.

          • Nick

            NoLED also can use the proximity sensor to turn off the notifications when it’s in your pocket, I used to use back in the Nexus S days and it was great for amoled phones.

          • Paul Hansen

            Historically proximity (pocket) sensors have been a HUGE drain on battery. Hopefully they have this fixed as it’s been an issue in the past when they’ve tried to use it. Software updates have pulled the feature out of the motorola’s that had tried to use that method in the past.

  • Droid Ronin

    My old school G1 had notification LEDs.

  • Whoah, this is super old! He called it the “Market”!

    • Buckoman

      I still do.

      Can’t get used to calling it the “Play Store.”

      • Justin W

        I just say the app store to those who aren’t tech-savvy. They know what I mean and I don’t have to explain that the Play Store is the app store for Android.

  • dtraini30

    I just wanna know more info about your tweet… would customization for the Moto X really be exclusive to AT&T?!

    • Someone may or may not have mentioned that to us. 😛

      • Butters619

        Fortunately I have AT&T. Unfortunately I would want to buy it off contract. 0_o

      • dtraini30

        That really sucks. Definitely made this Monday worse.

      • EC8CH

        Are customized phone purchased through the carrier or directly from Moto?

        If directly through Moto, I can see why VZW isn’t getting the ability to customize.

        • Do not know that. Only heard that AT&T is likely to have the exclusive on the customizations, with other carriers getting white and black models.

          • EC8CH

            Whatever I guess…. so long as we get SOMETHING on Verizon.


          • Something that isn’t released 2 months later than everyone else should be what we really hope for.

          • Mike Hilal

            Im sure the custom backs can be purchased from AT&T

          • dtraini30

            Why would Motorola do that? Their ad campaign said that it was designed by you, not designed by you only on AT&T. Makes no sense! Especially if Motorola is trying to get popular again.

          • EC8CH

            Blame the carriers not Moto, I’m sure Moto would love to make it available to everyone, but the carriers have to be able to control the quality of the devices on their network. A green phone on the Verizon 4G LTE network might possibly destroy the user experience for thousands of other customers.

          • Paul Hansen

            I’m hoping that if this is true that VZW stores will be limited to these choices but the device can still be purchased from the play store with full customization.

          • chris125

            Agree. If this is the case it is a shame. Google/moto should have stepped their foot down if it is true. I mean so much for the designed by you and ability to customize…well only if you’re on at&t should be their new tag line.

          • michael arazan

            I’m sure there will be after market accessories to customize the phone even if VZW won’t have the options, I’d bet 3rd parties will create back and front plates at lower prices too

          • ToddAwesome


          • Justin W

            Would explain why Rogers is only getting black and white models.

          • Aaron

            So let me see if I got this right. AT&T get exclusive rights to customize the X, Verizon gets the new DROIDs with the high end specs, and the rest of us get the leftovers. Is it just me, or is the new Motorola still looking like the old Moto? I want to see another OEM succeed, but carrier exclusives doesn’t appear to be what has put Samsung on top. Where did Googorola get the idea that this is the best plan of attack on Apple and Samsung?

        • Guest

          If that’s the case, I better have the option of a red HTC One. I want a colorful Android phone. One reason I like the Lumias. This only black and white trend is boring as hell.

          • MikeC

            I got the Galaxy S4 Active in that awesome “Dive Blue” metallic teal color. I love colorful phones without having to get a case. I just have a clear bumper case.

      • dtraini30

        Also, can Bionic or Sarge confirm?

      • Trueblue711

        Wow. If that’s true, I have officially lost hope in this phone. It’s more of a sore disappointment with every piece of new news.