Friday, January 4, 2013

Enable Smart Rotate and Smart Stay on any Android

When Samsung launched its Galaxy S3 last summer it included a lot of new features to the Android operating system on its new flagship. The two most impressive feature, in my opinion was Smart Stay. 

Android phones turn off the screen after a period of inactivity, usually a period of 30 to 2 minutes, which can be set in the settings. The shorter the period you set, the more you conserve battery life. When you are reading a web page or ebook, the screen turn off because you do not interact with the phone often enough.

Smart Stay improves on this system by using the front camera to detect whether you are looking at the phone or not. For so long as it detects that your eyes are still looking at the display, it keeps the display lit. Once it detects that you are no longer looking at the screen, it turns the display off. 

When Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 2, it added a new Smart feature, Smart Rotate. Smart Rotate uses the front camera instead of the accelerometer to rotate the screen. This is useful when using your smartphone while laying down on a bed or sofa. Turn sideways, and the screen rotates putting whatever you were reading is at 90 degrees from where it needs to be. 

Smart Rotate uses the front camera to decide when to rotate by looking at the orientation your face and than and then match the orientation of the screen accordingly, instead of relying on gravity.

Good Mood Droid brings these two features to less fortunate smartphones. The GMD Smart Rotate app is available free on Google Play and will bring Samsung Smart Rotate functionality to any Android phone with a front facing camera. A paid version unlocks the ability to use Smart Stay for just US$1.99.

GMD Smart Rotate adds some cool functionality too, allowing you force apps that normally do not rotate to do so, and set per app rotation preferences. 

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