Dynamic Island on my Pixel 6! Android to copy best iPhone 14 Pro feature: Samsung users will love it

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Dynamic Island on my Pixel 6! Android to copy best iPhone 14 Pro feature: Samsung users will love it
We’ve talked about this a million times before… There’s no denying that both Android and iPhone take inspiration from each other. And, as I’ve said, most of the time, this is great news for us, the end users, who sometimes get a taste of the best of both worlds!

That being said, technically speaking, the chance Android phones will take inspiration from the iPhone is perhaps slightly higher, as the iPhone is the only phone running iOS, while Android is… you know - made up of so many brands and devices that I actually can’t tell you how many of them there are out there.

Anyway, some of the most notable iPhone features that Apple made so “cool” that they were later subsequently implemented by Android are:

  • The notch and Face ID - a rather controversial feature to copy, which didn’t exactly stick around for too long on Android (currently, found only on the Huawei Mate 50 Pro)
  • MagSafe - The Chinese brand Realme found a way to give some of its phones magnetic wireless charging, called… MagDart - this one also didn’t catch on as a trend
  • The gesture navigation system - probably the best feature Android’s ever “stolen” from Apple - this one’s definitely here to stay
  • Privacy alerts - the two dots that appear in the corner of your Android phone when you’re using your camera/microphone and more privacy and other software features

The list goes on, and as I already said, Apple’s taken a ton of inspiration from Android itself. But we’re not here to find the bigger copycat. Because you’re here to read about the new Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and find out if it’s coming to Android! When is it coming? Is Samsung going to join the party? Let’s talk about the future of Dynamic Island on Android phones!

Recommended Stories
Oh, and I might or might not have managed to get it to work on my Pixel 6 Pro. Wink, wink.

Dynamic Island and why Android phone-makers will copy it sooner than you think

In case you aren’t familiar, here’s my best attempt at explaining the iPhone 14 Pro’s new Dynamic Island:

Now that we know what Dynamic is and what it does, why would Android phone-makers like to copy it?

  • For starters, it’s a software feature, and as such, it’s extremely easy to adapt to a different OS. It’s easy to copy.

  • The other reason is that, as we found out, it’s a feature that can very easily be used to make a positive impression on users. As you might know, Dynamic Island stole the show during Apple’s last launch event, and that’s despite the appearance of Cupertino’s first ever 48MP camera on iPhone and the Apple Watch Ultra.

  • Of course, the other reason why Android phone-makers would like to copy such a smart feature is because… it’s smart! Apple’s made controversial choices before, but other than the Dynamic Island being way too high up top to be reached easily, it doesn’t really appear to have many obvious flaws that make it a dealbreaker - at least those are my first impressions.

The first version of the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island for Android - now running on my Google Pixel 6 Pro!

Video Thumbnail

So, you want to know if Dynamic Island is coming to Android? Of course, it is! How do I know? It’s already here. In a way…

Twitter really is a wonderful place when it isn’t a wasp nest, so naturally, that’s where I found Vaibhav Jain’s post with a demo and instructions on how to get the first Android version of Apple’s Dynamic Island to work on my personal Google Pixel 6 Pro. So, I did it!

To be clear, there are about three different apps/methods of getting an Android Dynamic Island to work on your Pixel, Galaxy, OnePlus, Xiaomi, or another phone. Here’s the moment to tell you that you can, too, give it a try, but you’ll be doing so at your own risk. In the end, these clearly experiential/fun apps aren’t available on the Google Play store but have to be downloaded from the internet. That doesn’t really make things more challenging, but according to Google, it’s not the most secure way to download apps, so you know - you do you!

Anyway! I went with an app by Chinese developers called Smart Bird. It asked for simple notification and Bluetooth permissions, which doesn’t make it too intrusive. As of now, Smart Bird isn’t all that smart, as it can only display the Dynamic Island on my Pixel 6 Pro when I:

  1. Plug in a charger
  2. Connect my wireless earbuds (AirPods, Huawei FreeBuds, etc.)

Of course, the text within the app is in Mandarin, and some of the UI of the Dynamic Island isn’t in English either, but that’s to be expected. The feature works as expected. It’s not as polished as on the iPhone 14 Pro, but that's to be expected for an early developer version. Still, the “cool” factor is totally there.

All that aside, the fact that I was able to get a Dynamic Island-like experience on my Google Pixel 6 Pro before the iPhone 14 Pro’s even shipped to customers, it’s proof that Apple’s Island will become an archipelago very soon. An Android one too.

For the record, I generally have mixed feelings about Apple’s new Dynamic Island. I like Apple’s smart thinking, super-smooth implementation, and generally useful functional aspect of the Island.

That being said, I can’t help but notice that the added functionality feels like it’s there to make up for the massive pill-shaped cutout that’s going to get in the way of your media consumption experience. Dynamic Island now cuts off more of your horizontal view in video since it comes lower than the iPhone 13’s narrow notch and even lower than the iPhone 12’s longer notch. I’m also not the biggest fan of the sky-high placement of the Island, which will require some finger gymnastics, especially on the huge iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Android phones (kinda) had Dynamic Islands way before iPhone 14 Pro: LG V10 (2015) and Honor View 20 (2018)

But whether I like it or not, one thing I’m sure about and it’s that the Dynamic Island, or whatever it ends up being called by other manufacturers, will be coming to Android sooner than you might expect!

That’s the moment to say that some Android phones came very close to delivering a Dynamic Island experience a long time ago. The problem is that they didn’t really commit to it:

  • The LG V10 had a literal secondary display on top of its main screen, which was used to let you do simple tasks like muting the sound or turning on your flashlight. Similarly to Apple’s Dynamic Island, it also displayed notifications. Of course, LG killed the secondary display with the LG V30 and then died altogether.

  • As it turns out, Honor (at the time part of Huawei) demoed a feature very similar to Dynamic Island all the way back in 2018, when the company debuted the very first smartphone with a punch-hole display cutout, the Honor View 20. I’m not sure what happened with this feature after the release of the phone, but one thing’s for sure - it didn’t stick around for too long to start a trend for the countless other Android phones with display cutouts that were going to follow.

Samsung, Google, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Honor: Who will copy Apple’s Dynamic Island first, and when can you expect to see the first official version of the feature on Android?

It seems like Android was sitting on a gold mine without realizing the fun and useful potential of punch-hole display. So, which phone-makers will copy Apple’s Dynamic Island first, now that we know it’s “hot”?

As shown in this video, impatient developers from China have already made a theme that lets you add Dynamic Island to your Xiaomi phone, which is available on the Xiaomi Mi store app. It’s safe to assume that this, and of course, the iPhone 14 Pro hype, will attract Xiaomi - a company with a long history of taking inspiration from Apple and openly admitting to looking up to the American company.

So, yes, I place my bet on Xiaomi to deliver the first "official" version of the Dynamic Island for Android. It’s safe to assume that other Chinese brands like Honor, Oppo, Vivo, and maybe even Huawei will eventually follow the Dynamic Island trend!

What about Samsung and Google, though? Well, I doubt Google will have the time to get a Dynamic Island-like feature on Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, as the phones are coming out very soon. Of course, unless Sundar Pichai & Co have secretly been working on the same feature. So, it looks like the earliest we might see a Pixel with its own version of the Dynamic Island will be with Android 14.

On the other hand, Samsung just launched the new version of its software skin on top of Android 13, OneUI 5, and this one certainly doesn’t add a Dynamic Island to your Galaxy S22. Of course, there’s a solid chance Samsung might decide to skip past the Dynamic Island hype wagon altogether.

Sure, we don’t expect the Galaxy S23 to bring an under-display selfie camera, but it’s clear (from the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s UDC) that Samsung’s flagships are headed that way and will get there sooner or later. If not, we’ll likely be seeing Samsung’s own version of the Island this January with the Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra!

Would you like that?

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless