I have been using smartphones now nearly a decade, and one of the fascinating observations is the rise and fall – and rise again – of LED notifications. Going back to Treos and BlackBerrys, some devices had a blinking LED just to let you know you had a cellular signal. Later, they morphed into notification signals to let you know of a text message or email. Some phones later had various colors combos to add even more differentiation.
Then they stopped.
Now, in 2015, LEDs are back. Samsung is fond of them in their Galaxy series, and other companies have been using them on Android for some time. The good news is Windows 10 Mobile supports this too. This finding is not new, either, as reports of LEDs support go back months to various documents and official Microsoft forums.
Microsoft's Gabriel Aul reiterates this information in a recent tweet, but there are stipulations:
"We've done the changes for Windows 10 mobile to support. OEM's need to build devices with LED's & drivers for you to use this"
So the tools are there. We just need hardware to support it. This conclusion, of course, raises two immediate questions:
- Do any current Lumias support an LED and will it be enabled with Windows 10 Mobile?
- Do the upcoming Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL phones support LEDs?
Reports that the Lumia 730 and Lumia 735 have an un-activated LED go back to Microsoft's forums in a post from April from a support engineer at Microsoft:
"Microsoft plans to enable LED notifications in Windows 10 for Phones Technical Preview, and those who own devices featuring hardware LEDs inside will be able to benefit from this new feature. Your phone Lumia 735 already has hardware LEDs inside."
However, since then, there have been no advances on this feature. The most likely reason is the Lumia 735 – if it can do this – likely needs new firmware for it to happen. If that is the case, we have to wait and see just what Microsoft intends to do.
In regards to the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL despite some of the details of those phones there is no confirmation that they support this feature. This lack of information does not mean it is not there, however, but there certainly is nothing indicating that they do either.
I have a feeling that most of you would want this as an option, but just to solidify my suspicion, lets' do a poll! If on your phone just navigate to m.windowscentral.com/poll-windows-10-mobile-led.