The One Thing That Kills the Nexus S For Me

It has no notification LED.

It’s a decent if unexceptional device. I can live without a real keyboard. I can live without a microSD slot (especially given the broken way that Android uses external storage). NFC is neat if extremely premature and consumer-only at this point.

The lack of a notification LED on Google’s flagship device, however, is deadly.

The iPhonification of Android

I don’t want to endlessly turn the screen on or suffer disruptive notification sounds (that I miss if I’m not nearby at that moment) just to know that an email dropped.

Hence why I like devices to have a notification LED. Preferrably one that is easily visible when it’s in a case (beside the power connector would be perfect).

The Nexus One has such a notification behind the trackball. It’s suboptimal given that it suffers from a very slow cycling rate by default (meaning you have to stop and look at the device for 10 seconds to see if it pulses), and the fact that it’s hidden when the phone is in a case, yet it’s far better than nothing.

Purportedly there are some fixes conceived to use several of the OLED pixels as a hacked out notification LED. Aside from the poor positioning and minimal visibility of the low brightness screen, my big concern there is OLED fade. Like plasma OLED has a finite lifespan, and the pixels that shine the brightest live the shortest, so you may end up with a notification burn in pattern on your screen.

On The Value of The Negative

My LED notification is just as valuable when it isn’t blinking. It communicates with accuracy and reliability (meaning I’m assuming the battery hasn’t run dry) that there is nothing demanding a response.

This “negative notification” concept eludes many, yet it’s incredibly valuable.

Tracks in snow tell a lot, but snow without tracks tells just as much. A dog barking at an intruder tells you plenty. A dog quietly sleeping tells you as much.