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Klim Dyachkov
Klim Dyachkov

Nokia Glance Bug Sees Always-On Clock, Always On

As part of the Lumia Amber software update, coming soon to existing Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices, Nokia has added a number of customisations to Windows Phone's display functionality and settings. These include an option to have an always-on clock displayed on screen when your device is fully locked ('Nokia Glance Screen') and the ability to adjust the colour display characteristics of the screen ('Lumia colour profile'). In this feature, we offer an in-depth look at the new functionality as seen on the newly released Nokia Lumia 925.

Nokia Glance Bug Sees Always-On Clock, Always On

Nokia Glance Screen ('glance' in the display+touch Settings module) offers the option of having an always-on clock displayed on screen when your device is fully locked (i.e. when the screen would have previously been blank). It's similar to the "Big Clock" and "Sleeping Screen" features of Nokia's AMOLED equipped Symbian devices, which are also seen on the MeeGo Harmattan-powered Nokia N9.

Strictly speaking, the always-on clock isn't always-on. If you put your phone in your pocket (or cover up the ambient light and proximity sensors at the top of the device) then the screen is switched completely off. The software is intelligent enough to draw a distinction between a sudden change in light (e.g. putting in your pocket) and a more gradual change in light (e.g. getting dark and night), which does suggest that it is may be the proximity sensor that's doing the hard work here.

At this point you may be wondering what the impact of an always-on clock is going to have on battery life. The answer? It depends on the screen technology used in your phone. Phones with LCD screens generally have a backlight that must be switched on for the screen to be visible and this is a significant power drain. However, this does not apply to phones with AMOLED screens, which are made up of pixels that "glow" for themselves.

In essence, it is possible to turn on just part of an AMOLED screen (i.e. enough pixels to show the time), rather than the whole thing, as is the case with LCD. As a result, AMOLED screens can provide an always-on clock feature that results in only a relatively small power drain (maybe 1% to 2% of total battery capacity in typical usage).

It is, of course, possible to have an always-on clock on an LCD screen, but in reality it's not really practical because of the impact on battery life. This is one of the reasons Nokia has opted for an AMOLED screen on the Nokia Lumia 925 (and 928).

Nokia has also implemented a night mode for Glance Screen, with an option to set a time interval (a period for which night mode applies). In night mode, the Glance Screen clock will be coloured red, rather than white. In a darkened room, the red colour is still visible, but is less intrusive, ensuring that your always-on clock doesn't keep you up all night.

For the always-on display, the clock layout will follow that of the lock screen with a smaller module to show the time at the top left corner followed by the icons of apps you have notifications from or some other data.

LTPO panels allow variable refresh rates. Dropping the refresh rate down to an extremely low rate means it uses a lot less power, which is what enables the always-on display on the Apple Watch Series 5.

VPN configurations created with the built-in support can be set as the always-on VPN in the configuration panel. This will keep the VPN running, reconnecting as necessary and will force all connections through them. An app providing a VPN service can also be set as the always-on VPN via the entry in the Settings page. For app-based VPN implementations, there's also an additional "Block connections without VPN" toggle which is needed to prevent leaks when the app's VPN service isn't running.

Always-on display is supported, but it's only always on by name - in fact, it can only be set to show for 10s after a tap - no scheduling and no truly always-on option. There still are a lot of AOD themes you can choose from, and some of those can also be customized.

Themes have always been a huge part of MIUI, and they are available on MIUI 13, too - on the Poco build as well. You can download new ones from the Themes store, and they can change wallpapers, ringtones, system icons, and even the always-on display style.


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