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README.md

This is the sauce for the Holey Light app.

LICENSE is GPLv3.


Holey Light is an S10 Notification LED emulation app. It animates the edges of the camera cut-out as replacement for the sadly missing LED.

It will only light up for notifications that would have lit up the LED if the S10 had one.

This is for S10/S10e/S10+ only! It will crash (wont-fix) on any other device!

My personal test devices is the plain S10, if things are out of whack on the other models, let me know.

There is a link to XDA thread at the bottom, which is the place for discussing this app.

Features

  • Emulates notification LED

It really is a one-trick pony :)

Questions you could and/or should ask

Can I get this or that feature?

Maybe. I am building this for me, and you get to use it if you want. If I want your feature for myself, I may add it. If not, you could always pull request :)

The issue tracker is the TODO list, you might ask for it there.

Aren't there other apps that do this?

Maybe, yeah. But I got the idea for this the day I got the device, and started soon after. Maybe I'm not first to finish, but finish it I will.

I am building this primarily for me, it will be running on my device every day all day. So I want to know and control exactly what it does, since anything untoward in the handling of this will drain your battery quite quickly (6-8 hours).

Someone pointed me at another app but it was a monstrous ad-fest so I uninstalled before even trying. Nope!

This is free, and you get teh sauce.

I heard you built this entire thing just so you could call an app "Holey Light"?

That is absurd. Who would even do such a thing. Certainly not me. /s

Something something ETA?

No.

Battery use

To display an animation like the one we're doing, we obviously need the screen to be in some sort of ON state, or we'd just be staring at a blank screen.

During normal (screen on) phone operation, this is not a problem. What follows is precisely about the situation where the screen is "off" and Android is not displayed.

Ideally, we would be operating in the doze or one of the suspended states. These are power saving states, that reduce power used by the CPU and/or display directly. Aside from that, code running in the background is restricted. Unfortunately, it is not possible for third-party apps such as these to attain these power-saving states, at least not without root. I've made some progress using shell runners (which need to be started through adb, or root if you have it), but nothing too convincing just yet.

The Always On Display mode (which is just Samsung-speak for Android's Ambient Display feature) does run in this mode, but decompiling AOD and several of it's plugins, I did not find a way to properly hook into it. We can currently overlay it, but not without it's own problems: we need to keep the CPU and screen semi-active. In other words, it's not a true AOD tap-in, and uses (significantly) more battery power than just AOD does.

For the devs among us, if you were unaware, Ambient Display is quite literally just a Dream (with a few extra hidden methods to trigger doze mode). The path to the Dream that runs as Ambient Display is hardcoded in an xml in framework-res. With root and an rro overlay (or something similar) we might be able to replace it. I am not currently planning on rooting my S10, but it seems doable in theory. Typical Google to lock something like this down while it could so easily be used for nice things.

This app tries to piggyback on AOD smartly, and only keeps wakelocks for a couple of milliseconds when screen updates are needed. The code that does run is pretty heavily profiled, and the effects on other processes (such as system_server and surfaceflinger) closely monitored to pick the best paths. Some things might seem slow in the code, but there are actual reasons for most of these things.

Since the app cannot currently tap into the power management features directly, nor into the true AOD surface (holey grail material), it has to make do with several work-arounds and indirect triggers. This means at this level it can never be as efficient as AOD itself is (which impresses at sub-1% per hour).

Here's a potentially interesting and somewhat in-depth post on XDA.

Rendering

The camera-centric animations (swirl, blink, pie) render the original AfterEffects animation (taken from Samsung ROM) using Lottie to a spritesheet.

When the screen is on, all is well with that by default. In AOD mode, with the screen in doze or suspend state, we require a draw wakelock to have the screen updated, and we render continuously or our animations disappear. It should be noted that we really shouldn't even be able to hold a draw wakelock in the first place, but it does work.

The Unholey Light display is different. AOD registers a section of the screen that the display will keep visible (TSP) even when in suspend state. This is not something we can achieve ourselves as we do not have the correct access. We use Accessibility Services to detect which section of the screen is registered, and render the Unholey Light in that position. This way we do not need to keep rendering/updating the screen continuously, and the CPU can go to sleep without the display being lost.

Unfortunately, we have no control over the display area that is 'saved' this way. That is why we cannot use a display around the camera area in the same way, and why the camera-centric animations aren't nearly as easy on the battery as Unholey Light - they need to keep the CPU on and keep updating the screen.

As the CPU is asleep most of the time, this is also why Unholey Light isn't really (and cannot be) animated.

Burn-in

Anything rendering in the same area runs the risk of burn-in on AMOLED displays. While the situation is not as dire these days as the AMOLED displays of old, the risk is still there.

Using the timeout feature to have notifications go away automatically after some time is advised. It's rather wonky on short timeframes still, but setting it to minutes/hours instead of seconds works well enough for the time being.

Unholey Light has some protection against burn-in. First, AOD moves the display area around the screen about once every minute. Usually its just a few pixels, but every 10 minutes or so it moves the display to a completely different area. Additionally, the app itself subtly changes the radius of the ring, every time the CPU awakes (again about once every minute on battery power, and continuously when charging), which changes the pixels being used. You have to look very closely to observe this effect. If multiple colors (notifications) are part of the display, it also rotates them inside the circle, again hitting different (sub)pixels.

Freedom!

This app is free, without in-app purchases (there may be a donate button at some point), without ads, without tracking, but with GPLv3 sauce.

Download

You can grab it from Google Play.

Screenshot#1

Feedback

It puts it in the XDA thread or in the GitHub issue tracker.

The workings of the app are quite intricate, so describe what is happening in minute detail.

TODO

You can find the TODO list in the issue tracker.

Translations

app/src/main/res/values/strings.xml is the master English file that needs to be translated.

You can use the History button there to see when/what has changed over time if you want to keep your translation updated.

Enjoy!

Or not.

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