How to get the best Moto X features on your Android device

Two free applications in the Google Play store offer alternatives to Motorola's Active Display and Quick Camera features.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Moto X is one of the most talked about smartphones of the year. Despite not being equipped with a full HD display and a quad-core processor like other high-end devices, Motorola still managed to bring something special to the market. The company tweaked the Android operating system just enough to deliver a unique user experience that helps set the phone apart from both the Galaxy S4 and HTC One.

The Moto X includes features such as Active Display, which allows for select portions of the AMOLED screen to light up to reveal the time and incoming notifications, and the ability to launch the camera application with a simple flick of the wrist, know as Quick Capture.

Third-party developers took notice of these features and have been hard at work to bring them to other Android smartphones. It would appear that their perseverance has paid off. Two free apps are now available in the Google Play store that will make your smartphone a little more like the Moto X.

Active Notifications

Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

The first application is called Active Notifications and it is designed to replicate Motorola's Active Display technology. The app was originally only available for devices running Android 4.3, a software version that is found on only a small number of devices, but it has been updated to support any device running Android 4.1.2 or higher.

There are still some shortcomings, however. Unlike the Moto X, Active Notifications isn't capable of handling multiple notifications.

A one time in-app purchase of $0.99 opens the door to even more features, including the ability to disable notifications at night, set custom brightness levels, and hide notification details. Phones with an AMOLED display such as the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Nexus will also benefit from minimal battery drain because only a portion of the screen will light up, rather than the entire display.

Twisty Launcher

Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

An application known as Twisty Launcher will bring the Quick Camera feature to select smartphones running Android 2.3 or higher. The app goes one step further than the Moto X, allowing users to set up gestures to launch more than just the camera. Users can choose from three possible gestures, a chop, a twist, and a flip. The chop gesture is enabled by default, but the other gestures and the ability to launch different apps can be unlocked for $1.

Active Notifications and Twisty Launcher are available now for free in the Google Play store.

About the author

Dan Graziano is an associate editor for CNET How To. His work has appeared on BGR, Fox News, Fox Business, and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn't tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.

 

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