In 2021, why do people still miss the mobile phone breathing light?

From feature phones to smart phones, there are many designs that have been cut off by manufacturers. For example, a physical keyboard, such as a removable battery, and an extremely advanced 3.5mm headphone jack.

But what I miss most is the breathing light on my phone. The design of the breathing light is not beautiful, it was an important factor when I bought the machine. But today's smart phones, there are few breathing light designs.

▲ Meizu's "small dot", a very classic breathing light design

There are not a few people who are obsessed with breathing lights like me. On forums such as Tieba and Zhihu, many users wondered why more and more manufacturers have discarded the design of the breathing light. It is obvious that the breathing light is so beautiful and practical.

▲ Questions about breathing lights on Zhihu

Some friends with strong hands-on ability even refit their mobile phones with breathing lights, which shows their obsession and obsession with breathing lights.

▲However, this is not recommended, as it will increase the risk of water and dust entering the phone.

The breathing light was once a trend indicator

There is no data to test which genius first integrated the breathing light into the mobile phone. However, the earliest breathing light was at best an indicator light. When a text message or call is received, the indicator light of the mobile phone changes color or flashes at a fixed frequency to remind the owner.

▲ Picture from: gadgets

The breathing light we usually talk about mostly refers to a light that can change from bright to dark and is as soft as breathing. In the era of clamshell mobile phones, beautiful breathing lights are a weighted score.

For example, BBK's bubble mobile phone (i508) has a breathing light hidden under the "bubble" on side A. When users play music, receive text messages or phone calls, the corresponding "bubbles" will have a breathing effect, which is very beautiful.

In my mind, the flip phone with the most beautiful breathing light is LG's "dessert" series. It has a variety of built-in patterns, and users can DIY the style and color of the breathing light to express their mood and state.

The breathing light is not only a decorative element, but also a medium for users to view information such as time and weather. Users do not need to turn on the phone, they can know whether there is any information, call, and the current time through the breathing light, which is extremely convenient.

Some flip phones also integrate the breathing light in the button area, which is more for lighting and decoration functions.

When it comes to breathing lights, many of my friends may first think of the more crude "marquee". Before 2010, the standard equipment of the "spiritual guy" included not only tight trousers, pointed leather shoes, but also a "flashing blind" marquee mobile phone.

This kind of mobile phone has a very wide frame and a thick body. So manufacturers have room to put enough lamp beads to achieve all kinds of exaggerated lighting effects.

When the DJ dance music is played, the marquee of the mobile phone will flash in accordance with the rhythm, which is simply a mobile nightclub.

Full screen, let the breathing light nowhere to settle

"Prosperity must decline" may be an iron curse.

When smart phones appeared, manufacturers began to pursue large screens, light and thin. All kinds of mobile phones have become straight screens. This change in form has brought some changes to consumers' habits. When you need to view information, you only need to tap the screen once or pick up the phone to wake up the screen, and the information notifications are clear at a glance.

▲ Picture from: lvivity

Therefore, the function of the breathing light, which was once regarded as the indicator of the mobile phone's message, is much weaker. Regarding the huge space inside the mobile phone, the designer reasonably lowered the priority of the breathing light.

During this period, the breathing light degenerates into a small spot. Most are placed next to the front lens or earpiece, which will flicker or change color when there is information.

▲ Picture from: Jifeng Forum

Another consideration for this design is that there are more notifications in the era of smart phones than in the era of feature phones. If the design of the breathing light is too complicated, and the message notification is so frequent, it will affect the battery life of the mobile phone.

But this kind of simple and rude design really has no sense of beauty. Some manufacturers have given different answers, such as Meizu, Nubia and other manufacturers, which integrate the breathing light and the Home button, which looks elegant and delicate.

▲ Meizu MX3. Picture from: androidauthority

The breathing light of MOTO XT615 is placed in the lower left corner of the navigation bar, in the form of a light strip.

▲ Picture from: hard-resets

LG Optimus G Pro integrates the breathing light around the Home button, and can also adjust the light color. Some netizens said, "After using it, I don't feel that I will love a mobile phone without a breathing light anymore."

OPPO installed a curved breathing light belt on the chin of Find 7. When the light is on, it seems to be smiling at people, which is very healing.

Sony is even better at "playing with lights." For example, the breathing light of st18i, perfectly integrated with the function keys, is very sexy.

Sony's next Lt26i can be said to push the design aesthetics of the breathing light to a new level. When there is a notification, the breathing light in the transparent belt of Lingrui will light up, which looks dreamy and futuristic.

What's sighing is that this beautiful design has not been passed on to subsequent generations of models, and it has become a problem for many Suo fans.

And as "screen-to-body ratio" and "full screen" have become a topic of talk among manufacturers, the position of the breathing light has also given way to more important front lenses and various sensors. It is even harder for us to see a new machine with a breathing light.

Some mobile phones that still adhere to the design of the breathing light will use it as a selling point for publicity. For example, Redmi K30 Pro, although it adopts a full-screen design, it does not give up the breathing light, but integrates it on the lifting camera element.

It is said that "RGB lights are the romance of e-sports." Some gaming phones have also designed exquisite breathing lights on the back. For example, Black Shark, ROG, etc., will show brilliant light effects during the game. This may be a group of manufacturers that pay the most attention to lighting effects in the current smart phone industry.

"Reincarnation" of the breathing light

Even with the arrival of a full screen, the breathing light has nowhere to settle. However, after OLED screens are increasingly used in mobile phones, the function of on-screen display (AOD) has also become popular, like the "reincarnation" of breathing lights.

This is mainly due to the self-luminous characteristics of OLED panels. Each pixel can emit light independently, so the screen display can light up only part of the screen and keep the rest of the area off, so as to ensure that the power consumption is within a certain range and will not significantly affect the battery life of the phone.

▲ Picture from: xda-developers

As we mentioned above, the main function of the breathing light is message reminder and visual decoration. And users can also glance at the time, date, power, and information notifications at a glance through AOD when the mobile phone is on the screen.

In addition, some AOD designs are becoming more and more beautiful, not only playing the function of time and information prompts, but also playing a decorative role to a certain extent. Like the "Smart Screen" in Huawei EMUI 11, when the user looks at the mobile phone, the deer on the AOD screen will turn his head and look at the user, enhancing the interactivity.

And more and more mobile phones begin to support the light effect of message notification. For example, when you receive a text message or WeChat, both sides of the screen will light up, and the color, width, and dynamic effects can be customized. This kind of light effect is especially suitable for mobile phones with curved screens. When the light effects on both sides are on, the sense of technology is full.

▲ One plus on the left; vivo on the right

Some models have ingeniously designed music atmosphere light effects. For example, in the vivo X60 series, when music is playing and the screen is locked, there will be visual sound waves on both sides of the screen, which dance up and down with the rhythm of the music.

These special functions developed based on the OLED screen make the breathing light return in another way, and it also relieves those users who love breathing light.

In fact, the fundamental reason why people miss the breathing light is not to miss its function and style, but to miss the age when the mobile phone with the breathing light was used. Perhaps I used the money I saved for a long time to buy a mobile phone of my choice, and that mobile phone happened to have a breathing light, so the breathing light became a carrier, entrusting the emotions and memories of that era.

When the wheels of technology are rolling forward, occasionally stopping to look back at those things that once brought us a sense of freshness but are now fading, it is a unique thing.

Tell simple and easy-to-read stories. Work email: wanghelong@ifanr.com.

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