FlashNotify

What?

This app will make the whole screen backlight flash when there’s something you should pay attention to. At the moment, it does unread SMS messages and missed calls – Feel free to request anything else that you may find useful.

Why?

It’s the one feature I really miss from my Nokia 5300. I regularly have headphones in at work, and often have my phone on silent, so I don’t notice SMS messages coming in. On my old Nokia, I used to leave the phone out on my desk, and the flashing backlight would eventually attract my attention, but the weedy little green LED on my HTC Magic just doesn’t do the job.

Where?

Now available on the Android Market (Search for “FlashNotify”) -

The Free Version

One of the donate versions

If you find this useful, please do consider donating (Paypal, for those who prefer it) – It’ll certainly make me more keen to fix bugs and produce more apps :)

FAQs

Can you make just the keypad buttons flash? (particularly for the Samsung Moment)

Not easily, I’m afraid. I’ve taken a look at doing this in a few different ways, and I can’t come up with anything sane. This is a bit of a limitation of the API, I’m afraid, coupled with the way that Samsung have chosen to deploy the hardware support. There is a way which involves rooting the phone, but I’m not really comfortable requiring that. Maybe I’ll add detection for rooted phones, and allow you to toggle the screen flash if it’s rooted. All a bit difficult to test, though, as I don’t have a Moment myself.

My backlight is still flashing, but I don’t have any missed calls/messages – Any ideas?

From version 1.3.2, there’s a “Notification” option in the diagnostics section. With this enabled, all the time that FlashNotify thinks it should be active, there should be a notification icon telling you why. It’s worth noting that missed calls are regarded by the system as unseen unless you’ve actually been to the dialer app and looked there – Just clearing the notifications won’t work… Yes, this is a pain, but I don’t think there’s anything I can do about it at the moment.

So App development is the place to work then – How many millions have you had donated?

I’m not handing out exact figures, but so far my donation total is just about enough for a beer or three. Frankly, this is much more than I ever expected, and I’m inordinately grateful for it – Thanks to all those who rate the app on the market (at least the 5 star ratings ;) ), and a special thank you to all who have donated.

Suffice it to say, however, that I’m not giving up my real job just yet :)

How to use it

It should be pretty self explanatory, but just in case -

When you install it and start up the settings, you’ll see something a little like:

Pretty simple -

  • If you want the phone backlight to flash for SMS and Missed calls, select the checkboxes.
  • To control how often it flashes, pick from the “Notify Frequency” dialog.
  • If you want it to give up flashing after a while, pick from the “Stop flashing after…” dialog
  • If you want an audio notification when the screen flashes, pick that.

New settings will be applied immediately, so you can safely just exit this screen.

You should now find that when you have an unread SMS or unacknowledged missed call, the screen backlight will flash periodically.

Please feel free to drop me a line if you’re having any kind of problems, and I’ll do my best to sort them out.

Future Plans

Feature requests and plans I’ve had – Feel free to get in touch, and I’ll add your requests to this list.

  • [Planned] I can probably make it a little more battery friendly by using the RTC alarms, rather than holding CPU wake-locks at the appropriate times
  • [Planned] Only flash when battery is charging – The notification LED can get a little confused when charging + handling missed calls, etc. and a screen flash would be handy for some folks.
  • Email notification
  • General “flashing for anything in the notification bar”
  • Only flash keypad keys (particularly on Samsung Moment)
  • Flash colours on the screen, depending on the alert (Red for Missed calls, Blue for SMS, etc)

Does it work on…?

I think this should now work on most phones… The power management differs slightly on some, which was causing me problems, but I think we’ve got them all resolved now. I’ve had reports of everything being OK on:

  • HTC Magic (My own)
  • HTC Hero
  • Motorola Cliq (Fixed since early comments/reviews)
  • Moto Droid (Fixed since early comments/reviews)
  • Nexus One

I’ve had mixed reports about the G1 and the Motorola Backflip – I’ll double check this personally as soon as I can find someone to lend me one… If anyone out there would like to take a copy of the source, debug it, and tell me what’s wrong, that would be lovely :)

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Google for the SDK – Very happy with this one :-)

Also thanks to the Android Log Collector project, at http://code.google.com/p/android-log-collector/, for a dead handy, well documented and easy to use library :)

Version History

1.6.1 – Added delay to service startup to try to fix some SMSs not triggering the flashing.

1.6 – Stopped notification sound playing while phone is not idle. Added Vibrate option to Donate versions.

1.5.1 – Fixed FC that occurred if there’s no default notification sound.

1.5 – Internal rewrite, using Android Library projects now. Removed donation links from paid versions.

1.4 – Added audio notification, increased options for “Stop flashing after…” and added some logging

1.3.2 – Re-added notification, as an option. I quite liked it :)

1.3.1 – Removed notification, as it proved to be massively unpopular on the Market comments.

1.3 – Added persistent notification and log collection. Trying to work out why some folks are still having problems :)

1.2.1 – Removed remote crash reporting and associated full internet permissions. (Why did it require them?)

1.2 – Added option to stop the flashing after a pre-determined time period, as requested on the Market.

1.1.5 – Resectioned missed call code completely, hopefully removing a resource leak and potential FC.

1.1.4 – Attempted a workaround for a FC issue related to missed call count.

1.1.3 – Fixed a stupid low memory Force-Close problem, where I’d leak an acquired WakeLock object. Ooops. Really hope that’s the only FC issue in there.

1.1.2 – Added (optional) remote crash reporting to try and track down the FC issues that some people seem to be having.

1.1.1 – Added sensible default values for the preferences.

1.1 – Fixed a permissions problem that was breaking the SMS updates for most people. Not a good start. Also dropped the SDK requirements so Android 1.5 devices are now supported.

1.0.1 – Fixed donate link in the settings menu.

1.0 – Initial release