Droid DNA

It's time for another round of "What the hell is that?!?!" Ever since we brought you the first pictures of the Droid DNA weeks ago, we've been trying to explain the faint little circle to the left of the camera housing. In casual use, there's a good chance you'd never even notice it. But it's there. Actually, they're there. Sixty-one tiny pinholes in concentric circles.

So what are they? A speaker? A noise-canceling microphone?

Neither, actually.

One of the things I've always loved about HTC is that it remembers that phones sometimes are left face down. Go back to the speakerphone with its toggle button on the Touch Pro 2. Or, in the same vein, the simple feature of turning your phone face-down to silence a ringer. Little things like that that keep the phone usable when it's face-down as well as face-up.

And on the Droid DNA, HTC's answered the question of "What if I get a notification while the phone's flat on a desk?" Those little pinholes are hiding a notification light. I've only seen it flash green so far, but I'm wiling to bet some sort of hackery can be performed on it. 

Have Droid DNA questions? We're answering them in our Droid DNA forums!


Reader comments

Droid DNA hides a familiar feature on the back of the phone


Isn't that what Apple just got a patent for? Oh, wait... That would be covered by their patent deal... ;)

But in my experience, pin-holes as tiny as that tend to get clogged by dust and, more often, greasy stuff and dirt.

It's still a VERY cool thing to have on a phone... nice going, HTC :)

I was thinking of the standby light on my MacBook Pro, but that's different in that the holes are microscopic and laser-drilled so you can't even see where the LED is when it's off. Very snazzy.

The problem i see is that it will be hard to notice the notification at an angle, you can see this a bit in the video. When he gets right no top of it, it's nice and bright. At an angle it dims considerably. If it's on a counter across the room, you won't see it blinking at all.

"The problem i see is that it will be hard to notice the notification at an angle"

not nearly as hard to notice as the front facing LED while face down huh? i guess matter how little of the light get through those holes, any light beats no light every day.

Apple uses the LED flash (flash for alerts), it's rather annoying because it's full LED flash brightness, not a separate understated LED like on the front of every Nexus device, or on the back of this one.

If you've had the pleasure of seeing this in action, it's just as disruptive to others as a gangnam style ringtone on the loudest setting.

One question, does it still turn of after 5 minutes like it used to in Sense? If not, does the front LED also remain active for the same amount of time?

Have they made it so that the LED does more than just green and orange yet?

I can't say that I'm a big htc fan though

Except that once we put our phones in that cool Otterbox case to protect it from our clumsyness, we don't get to see it. (OK, Otterbox, get to fixing your cases to take advantage of this!)

I too, LOVE HTC and their design features on their phones. It was a toss up between the SGS3 and my Evo LTE, and I'm really glad I went with my EVO. (Now Sprint just needs to get their upgrades to the network complete!!!)

I don't know about wpavlik2, but here's why I'm glad I chose my EVO over the Galaxy S III (or the Sprint G-Nex, for that matter):
1) Screen quality. I compared it to my friend's SGS3, and my EVO is the hands-down winner.
2) I actually like HTC Sense. Launcher lagginess notwithstanding*, I really think HTC added some useful features, and the visual design is cohesive. I can control the volume from the lock screen (not in CM 10), and some notifications show up there, too (not by default; Personalize (app) -> Lock screen style). The core apps (Phone/Messaging/People) are also more user-friendly.
3) Back button on the left, where it belongs. It makes absolutely no logical sense to put the back button on the right (unless maybe you speak a language that reads right-to-left or something). I also don't really like that physical home button on the GS3; it's too different from the menu/back buttons and has too much going on design-wise for the front of the device.
4) Physical camera button. It's a little thing, but I use it most of the time. It can also serve as a search button on custom ROM's (hold half-press).

*I switched to Apex Launcher a while back, and my only regret is that the widgets for HTC's apps (Mail is the important one for me) don't show up on Apex, only the HTC Sense launcher. Now if I could only find a port of the AOSP Email app...

I don't like HTC. Their ruining smartphones with non
user accessible/expandable memory & batteries!

I'm sticking with Samsung.

I also got the Note 2 for that :) hehe BUT I found it sad to find that Google has taken out the ability to move apps to SD! :'( Now my SD card is only for media content and can't really use it to store those MASSIVE game download (unless the game has been specifically adapted to Jelly Bean and allow you to select the extra-data storage location).

I hope you were being sarcastic as I'm about to be.

How dare HTC ruin a smartphone with non user accessible/expandable memory & batteries!!! I guess we live in a time when one should concern themselves with toting a spare battery and managing a rotating charge schedule.

::removes discharged battery, inserts fresh battery:::

::discharges battery, charges battery:::

:::removes charged battery, inserts discharged battery:::

::charges battery::

..I guess its a day in the life.

::removes discharged battery, inserts fresh battery:::
::inserts discharged battery into dedicated battery charger, charges battery:::
::before battery in phone reaches 75%, has other battery fully charged:::

I am so ready for this phone, will be waiting outside my local Verizon store when they open on Wed. Longest week ever.

Wow, my wife would literally steal my phone while I'm sleeping and make sure it's never found... one notification light is enough for me...

And yes I realize it can be disabled/tweaked, just don't tell her that ;)

Great if I get one of these, now I have to put my phone in a box to cover up all the LED's when I go to bed. While it's a cool feature, lets hope it can be scheduled to turn off.

OK -- I don't normally like HTC products, but I've got to hand them that one, that's a cool and innovative feature.

I thought you were going to tell us it is to stabilize pressure to keep your phone from exploding if say, you jump from 25 miles up or something. :P

11 gigs of usable memory on this device make it a 100% fail. I have games that are 2.25 gigs per, so I cna only have four games loaded on my device then I have no room for pictures videos or files or movies or anything else. Does HTC even have a usage model in mind for their devices? I think not. This is what their current usage model is. You can have four games and nothing else on your device, if you play those games for a while and get a few levels in then you need to do some work, you have to delete the games in order to load an app for you to do some work, then to play the game again you have to re download it and start all over, no more joining from where you left off. Then you are going to the zoo and your 4 year old daughter is being very cute next to the gorilla exhibit and you want to take some quick impromptu photos and videos, so you say hold on for five minutes to your daughter, you erase everytihng on your phone, games apps, other videos and pictures now ten minutes later you are ready to shoot that cute video of your daughter. Only guess what she is on to another exhibit.

No wonder HTC is going out of business.

Yes, 11 usable GB of storage is not enough for us power users, but the fact that HTC is in financial trouble (not going out of business just yet) has nothing to do with the storage on their devices and everything to do with their brand image in the eyes of customers. HTC needs to do some advertising to get their name out and have a killer phone available on most major carriers (e.g., Verizon and AT&T in the US, and maybe T-Mobile for kicks) in most major markets worldwide. They probably could do better in their business decisions (integrating Beats as a feature is one thing, but investing in it is completely different).

Yes, I'd appreciate it if they used 32 GB of onboard storage in their high-end phones (or at least have an option for it), but this will not automatically boost their sales. Most people who watch TV or see online video ads know what a Samsung Galaxy S III is, even if they can't get the full name right. I don't think the same can be said of the HTC One X (or any other HTC phone, for that matter).

HTC's 5 minute notification light timeout makes this worthless. I have never been able to use an HTC Sense based ROM and had the notification light stay on longer than 5 minutes, including on my EVO 4G LTE. Not one single custom Sense based rom has addressed this issue. It must be embedded real deep into Sense and they have even stated it is designed that way to save battery which makes no sense at all since the light will flash orange forever once the battery is low enough.

Now, if you throw Cyanogenmod on there that light will flash or remain on until the notification is cleared which does make it useful if you are into switching out roms.

The nice apps like lightflow on the market don't work with HTC phones either so there isn't even really a workaround and an app like noLED doesn't work either because HTC doesn't use AMOLED screens.

The seizure inducing LED on my OG evo when the battery would get below 15% drove me INSANE! I tried EVERYTHING to suppress it, I eventually put a piece of tape over it when I wanted to use the stock rom as I could not take it anymore. I tried so many apps that would work and then ultimately fail over time at suppressing that damn little led.

I noticed that notification light early today while watching a review video on another site. The reporter was holding the back of the phone to the camera and a green beacon was flashing. I hope that it's something that can be controlled in the settings menu. I'd hate to think that that light would flash all the time like those annoying blue lights on Bluetooth headsets.

"I've only seen it flash green so far, but I'm wiling to bet some sort of hackery can be performed on it."

I don't know. HTC is notorious for only using a green/orange LED instead of a full multicolor like Motorola has as far back as the OG Droid.

As nifty as the concept sounds, the execution seems astonishingly poor. Wouldn't it be better to just lightly blink the flash? One less piece of hardware to buy, install and coordinate and you don't have to worry about it getting covered by an otterbox.

I think the whole point of HTC designing such a gorgeous, luxurious, sturdy, premium "feels great in the hand" phone is that you DON'T cover it with an otterbox.

For people who work outside for a living (like me) need to have a case on it. Period. End of story.

Merry Thanksgiving!!

Are you kidding me, Phil? You found time to count the little holes? LOL

P.S. I've asked Santa to put a mini tripod under the tree for you this year.

Surprised they didn't do a thin area and put the LED right next to the area so it shows through the material rather then put holes that can get clogged.

Potential Negative: I was attending a performance, recently, and put my Galaxy S3 under my chair (as these newer phones, with their awesome huge screens, don't often fit in pockets well). The lady behind me asked me to turn it over, because the bright flashing LED was distracting from the performance...

Yeah...the reason that I put my phone face down is because I don't want flashing notification lights and a lit up screen in a dark room when sleeping. Thanks.