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AcDisplay Brings Moto X Active Display-like Functionality to All Kit Kat Devices

It’s OK if you have secretly been jealous of the Active Display feature that we constantly talk about from the Moto X – it’s that great of a feature, especially for those of us who run through thousands of notifications per day. Be jealous no more, though, an app that runs on all Kit Kat devices and introduces part of Active Display’s functionality is now available on Google Play for free.

The app is called AcDisplay, and it really will bring a piece of Active Display to your non-Moto X. Using this app, you will see notifications light up your screen as they arrive and show as a circular icon with a timer ring, which is your chance to act on that notification before your screen times back out. If you’d like to act on the most recent notification, you can swipe up and into it. If you’d like to simply unlock your phone, you can do that by swiping down. As new notifications arrive, they will stack on the screen, though you can only act on the most recent. 

For now, AcDisplay is pretty bare bones. It requires that you give it notification access and let it act as a Device Admin so that it can manage the screen off timeout policy. Once you have done those two things, it just sort of runs on its own. I’d imagine there will be settings for selecting which types of notifications can show, how long the timer will run for, etc. in the future.

I should point out that this is certainly not the full Active Display that Moto X users can experience. AcDisplay won’t appear every time you pick your phone up or pull it out of your pocket. It only shows as new notifications arrive. Still, not a bad early attempt. We’ll be watching this one closely.

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Via:  XDA
  • Twonald

    how does this app differ from DynamicNotifications?

  • Brian Menius

    Looks like a fairly solid app. No more speaker crackle on screen-off like I had on DN!

    I’m eager to see the settings menu populated. I’d like to decrease the time-out for the screen.

  • who cares


  • Nikuliai

    Nice! I love this feature and this would do less hard to move on…
    Good move for all of us but Moto but let’s face it…

    This is the year of the horse… and while Motorola is in the floor it looks like the horse will stomp like there’s no tomorrow :/

    • needa

      moto doesnt really have anything to worry about just yet. odds are they have a patent on the whole thing and they never will have anything to worry about. this app, while really cool for non moto x owners, is not anything someone with an x would care about. thus leaving the x/droids as the king of the
      active display.
      there are already tons of apps that give notifications on your screen. this app is just another one of those.

  • Pam Oakea

    Try Dynamic Notifications in the play store. It works on phones 4.0 and higher. There is a free version but the 1.99 paid version lets you customize everything and is well worth the money.

  • StankyChikin

    This thing lag when opening like most other replacement lock screens?

  • Craig P

    Well it won’t be draining my Droid Maxx’s battery life, oh wait… 😉

  • Gerardo Hidrogo

    Between slide lock and dynamic notification wich one you’ll say is better for a 4.1.2?

  • Rodeojones000

    If you have a device running Jelly Bean or Ice Cream Sandwich, you can use DynamicNotifications. It works great and has the extra features the app mentioned here is lacking (ability to exclude certain apps, use proximity sensor to have it show notifications when flipping over the phone or taking it out if your pocket). Pretty decent and I noticed no significant battery drain.

  • George264

    So what’s the difference between this and DynamicNotifications?

  • Blair Ginley

    With non amoled screens, it will definitely drain battery faster. Will it be so horrible that you’ll need to be plugged in all the time, obviously no. But if you’re getting a crap ton of notifications, you’ll see battery drain.
    And yea, this is another example of the beauty of Android, always new stuff to play with that wasn’t originally supposed to be on your device

    • Nikuliai

      yeah but only if you receive a crap ton of notifications, and most of us read those when the notification arrives so if you consider you get a crap ton of notification AND you check it out always when you get the notification you will be saving battery even with a non amoled display (lockscreen -> app drains less than lockscreen->unlock->nav bar->app in a matter of on-screen time)

  • Bionicman

    Already using Dynamic Notifications but more options like this is always great. I would love the Moto X Active Display as a full fledged feature in Android.

  • wade_county

    I used DynamicNotifications on my Galaxy Nexus and it was feature packed.

  • Kevin
  • Ian

    For those that try it out, stop back and report on whether or not you see an effect on your battery life.

  • EliteX

    it’s not the same like the original AcDisplay from the Moto X

  • Amar Shergill

    How is this different from Dynamic Notification

    • JSo

      Try it and find out. I actually think its smoother, more stable and better looking. Once the developer adds more features, I think it will be better than Dynamic Notifications. No offense to the dev of DN though.

    • Kyle Lehman

      That’s what I was thinking the whole time I read this. It even sounds like dynamic notification is better because it is a lot more customizable and turns on when nudged and taken out of your pocket. I use it on my LG G2 and it works great.

      • Shawn Spring

        I was under the impression Dynamic Notification only worked on AMOLED screens…but as a fellow G2 owner I’m excited by this news. Have you noticed an impact to your battery life on the G2 by using DN?

        • Kyle Lehman

          I noticed it being high up on the battery usage stats when the nudge feature was on but with the battery on the LG G2 it didn’t affect it much.

          • Shawn Spring

            Interesting! I’m going to give this a shot, so see if I can finally use Hangouts as SMS (since it won’t use the LED!) as well as my Gmail notifications. Thanks!

      • Nikuliai

        main diff is the fact you can’t monitor the acelerometer without a low core processor and you shouldn’t try it since it will drain your battery really fast, I guess G2 users can deal with it since the G2 has a huge battery but most can’t

        I actually like this better, but it’s a matter of taste

      • tdogandrus

        I can’t get mine to stay off. It keeps turning back on after screen time out of 10 seconds. Like a never ending loop of dynamic notification battery killer. Is your LG G2 rooted?

        • Kyle Lehman

          It is rooted but I dont think that has anything to do with it. I think I needed to blacklist some apps like Google now because it keeps seeing a notification like traffic or weather.

          • tdogandrus

            I tried that and it didn’t work. The only way it doesn’t keep coming back on is if i disable the auto wake feature. Hopefully i can figure it out. Let me know if you have any other thoughts for me.

    • Brian Menius

      DN makes a bunch of crackly popping noise crap through my speaker when the screen powers back off on my N5. I’m going to give AcDisplay a try.

  • Kevin B

    I wasn’t excited about the non-stock features on my Moto X before I bought it, but now I don’t know if I would buy another phone without Active Display.

    • Eric

      The power button has definitely gotten less wear thanks to active display.

      • The Narrator

        Mine too. Gotta love knock on

        • T4rd

          Mine too. Gotta love home buttons =p

          • LionStone

            Except 2 physical buttons are redundant, not the same 🙂

          • T4rd

            It’s just as convenient a knock-on for waking the phone though. Esp. If the phone is sitting on a desk so you don’t have to grab the phone by the sides to wake it.

        • RTrece6415

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    • Booyabobby

      It should be a standard feature for all future Motorola phones. I don’t want to go back to blinking LED lights.

      • Jordan Webb

        The Droid Mini has both!

        • Cory_S

          So does the X. It is behind the speaker grill.

          • Jordan Webb

            Last I checked, the X light can only be used to indicate charging (I should check again – it’d be cool to get it all green and blinky on my X). The Mini’s light actually gets used just like the old Moto notification lights (green for notification, red blink for low battery, etc.).

          • Cory_S

            Its functionality is limited being Moto wanted to push Active Display. You can unlock it and use it as a normal one if you wish. I don’t have an X, so I don’t remember all the details. Looks like it’s just green. http://www.droid-life.com/2014/01/07/moto-x-actually-has-an-awesome-green-notification-light-hidden-under-the-earpiece/

      • NexusMan

        I thought I would severely miss the notification light…and I was ABSOLUTELY WRONG. Love the Moto X improvements on stock.

    • Frank512

      I completely agree. It’s probably one of my favorite features in general. Here’s hoping that Lenovo doesn’t forget about it in future devices. 🙁

    • starscream

      I agree. I didn’t think much of the feature in reading the reviews and hearing about it, but after using it I absolutely love it and don’t want to use a phone without it.

    • Daniel Russell

      Can’t wait to see what else they could do with it. Custom colors would be nice.

    • Larry Bublitz

      Yeah. Active Display is a must going forward. It’s just sooooooooo good.

  • Fry


  • Allan

    I’ll save my battery.

  • AbbyZFresh

    And this is the beauty of Android. You can make and integrate anything you like if you don’t see a feature you want.

    Too bad I already have a Moto X of course. Good luck.

    • Albert

      I am not necessarily sure the X8 saves the battery for active display. Its the AMOLED screen because it only lights the certain pixels that need to be activated. Other screens such as LED do not have this ability, and thats where the high battery usage comes from.

      • Adrynalyne

        AMOLED alone won’t cut it. It helps, but if you don’t want to see a battery life hit of any kind, you need a low powered core handling just the notifications so that the battery burners stay sleeping.

        We have been using AMOLED screens for forever, and apps like this are not new. Yet, they have all (each and every one) eaten away at battery life. There was one that came out during the GS1 days, and while it didn’t drain it as fast as you might expect, it did take a battery hit.

      • Nikuliai

        +1 on Adrynalyne’s comment, the AMOLED is a huge part of the Active Notification, but it
        means nothing if the lighting up of the pixels needs to be done
        periodically (which is) because you need a process that’s always running, and sum that to the fact you’re also monitoring the acelerometer, those 2 process are monitored by one of the low energy processor in the X8 system, the other “famous” one is also on the acelerometer, the double twist for camera launching (and the other low energy processor takes the input of the voices and matches it up with “Ok Google Now” <– 3 words all my friends bully me about)

        The whole big approach on this new app is the fact you don't need any of that, you may save a big part of the the lighting up with AMOLED, but the uses with other screens will little to no change in battery stats, but if something it should improve (instead of lighting up, unlocking, go to the nav bar, clicking notification you can just use the lockscreen), it's kind of nice, I have an old P500 lying around in the house, gonna test this app :B

      • Jonathan

        Not sure why you got voted down. You’re correct its the AMOLED screen that saves the battery since it only lights the pixels needed.