Nothing Phone (1): What are the lights on the back doing?

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The Nothing Phone (1) is no ordinary smartphone from the middle segment. Even ignoring the device’s other selling points, the handset stands out in a sea of ​​cookie-cutter smartphone designs with its transparent back and futuristic LED strips.

The latter form the so-called “glyph interface” of the Nothing Phone (1), which is marketed as one of the defining features of the device. Yet the attractive LED strips serve more than a purely aesthetic purpose.

The Glyph interface provides a unique way to communicate information to the user. Essentially, the idea behind the feature is to give users an idea of ​​what is happening even when their device is flat on the screen.

Nothing Phone (1): What are the lights for?

Call Notifications

First, the glyph interface can be programmed to display unique light patterns when someone receives a call. Depending on who the contact is, the Nothing Phone (1) will display a corresponding unique pattern once set up. This allows users to know who is trying to reach them even when the device is in silent mode. There’s also the added benefit of maintaining an air of privacy – after all, who else would know who the unique pattern corresponds to?

App notifications

Second, the glyph interface can also be used to distinguish between the different types of notifications. The Nothing Phone (1) can be set to display different patterns depending on the type of notification. Emails, social media alerts and messages from apps can all have a matching unique pattern.

This brings us to the most interesting use of the glyph interface – the ‘flip to Glyph’ function. Once the Glyph interface of the Nothing Phone (1) is facing up, the device can automatically enter a custom silent mode, with only light-based notifications appearing.

Charging status

Finally, there is another handy use of the glyph interface. While the Nothing Phone (1) is charging, the LED strips can show the battery status of the device. The same goes for reverse wireless charging. And if you’re worried that the light might be too bright when you charge your smartphone overnight, don’t worry. The brightness of the LED strips is easy to adjust.

Anyway, the “glyph interface” is more than just a pretty face. It’s an interesting take on using the back of a smartphone. Whether it falls more into the “interesting gimmick” category, or is a really useful future, is up to interpretation.

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