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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nexus 6 has a Hidden RGB LED Under the Top Speaker Grill

RGB LED behind the speaker
It used to be that if your phone wanted to silently alert you about something, it would fire up the old notification light. At a glance, it was capable of grabbing your attention, and multi-color varieties could easily clue you in to what sort of content was waiting for you. But in recent years, it feels like the stalwart notification LED has fallen by the wayside, replaced by richer technologies that not only tell you about the presence of new info, but are able to directly share it with you – things like Glance, Active Display, or its cousin, Ambient Display – and that’s to say nothing of users who get their notifications on their wrists, courtesy of a smartwatch. But for all those advancements, we’re still pleased when we also have the option for a no-frills notification LED, which is why we’re so excited to learn about the presence of a hidden LED tucked away in the new Motorola Nexus 6.
Out of the box, you won’t see the Nexus 6 using its notification LED – or even admitting such hardware exists. Even peeking around its bezel glass looking for the telltale signs of a hidden LED – that circle that’s not quite the same shade of black as everything else – turns up nothing. But as fate would have it, there is indeed a notification LED tucked away, hiding behind the earpiece/top speaker grille.
Right now, accessing the LED requires root access, and even then it’s of limited functionality, but it’s a full-on multi-color RGB LED in there, and it’s just waiting for software to make proper use of it.
We can appreciate why Google or Motorola may have opted not to make the LED functional on the Nexus 6 as shipped, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating to know that there’s unused hardware in our phones just begging to be taken advantage of.

Madhav Biju

Author & Editor

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