I may get kicked off the Ausdroid team for saying this, but maybe Steve Kondik (aka Cyanogen) was right. Maybe we don’t need root to accomplish the features we know and love within a custom rom. The CyanogenMod 11S on the OnePlus One shows this. It has all the usual CyanogenMod customisation tweaks without the usual root access requirement. Now it seems other developers are thinking that way too.

A couple of months ago the custom rom developer team of Paranoid Android introduced to the world a new feature called Peek. Peek is similar to the Moxo X Active Display in that it displays notifications on a lockscreen. From here notifications can be dismissed or viewed. Some clever developers led by noted kernel developer Francisco Franco, have redesigned the open source Peek feature from Paranoid Android’s source to provide a much more user friendly app without a root access requirement.

The app works by polling the phone’s sensors when you receive a notification and the screen is off. Sensors are then polled for a determined period of time (10 seconds is the default but this can be changed by the user). If motion is detected while the sensors are being polled then the notification is displayed on the screen. From here you can view the notification and then either dismiss it (swipe to the X), open up the app the notification is for (tapping the notification) or just simply unlocking the phone (swipe to the padlock icon). There is a blacklist in the app so you can prevent some notifications showing up, such as those from Google Play Music and the download manager.

If no motion is detected while the sensors are being polled then the app becomes idle again until the next notification comes in. The app becomes idle to limit the affect on battery life. While there is a hit to battery life it can be limited by the user. The shorter you make the polling of the sensors the less the hit. The sensors are able to pick up when the phone is in the pocket and thus will not show the notifications until the phone is removed from the pocket, assuming that is done during the polling of the sensors.

The app is still very early in development so if you do try it out and experience bugs hit up their XDA development thread with any issues you have. The app is on the expensive side considering its relatively minimal use-case but remember you do have the 15 minute refund period if you want to try it out. In the end the $4.09AUD cost of the app is still less than the price of a Big Mac and you are encouraging developers to attempt to create innovative apps. Think of the good karma. Peek is only available for 4.4+ roms at this stage.

With Google possibly looking to prevent root access for apps in the future (that is the topic of another upcoming article) maybe we could get all we want and need without root access? This app is just the beginning I believe. Hopefully developers find a way around the prevention of apps altering the system partition before Google implement it (if they do).

Is this an app you use in either a custom rom or do you use Peek itself from the Play Store? How are you finding it? Do you think it’s worth the money?

The app was not found in the store. ๐Ÿ™
Source: Peek.
Via: XDA Developers.
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    Wrong: “led by noted kernel developer Francisco Franco”…The Dev is from Columbia (No Play Store accounts), see featured/top comment from him at the link below.


    I bought it, set it up and used it for about a week. Really didn’t see the point in it so I did a refund via Play Store website. Got my money back so I’m happy.

    Shane Wilson

    I have OmniROM on my Nexus 5 with Active Display enabled. Screen turns on when I get a notification, turns off after a set time or when I double-tap the screen. If pocketed, the screen only turns on when I remove it. Can’t live without this awesome feature.


    Great app review, Chris. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Looking at what Peek can do, makes me wish I had a device running KK so I could use it.


    thanks Jeni ๐Ÿ˜€ Time to buy a OnePlus One?


    No Scott. ATM, I’m considering the LG G3.
    I’m waiting for the Ausdroid review on it before shelling out any cash though.


    I prefer the AcDisplay app as it shows a notification as a lockscreen which times out, whenever my phone gets a notification. So it is not reliant for motion to display a notification. So if my phone is sitting on my desk at work I get the notification popup up and display and then fade away. Whats the point of it display if it detects motion, doesn’t that mean you are holding the phone, why would you be holding the phone with the screen off?


    there is something to be said for that way of doing things too… if google have their way every Android phone will be capable of Moto X type display


    I’ve been using an app called NiLS that seems to do all of this. Works well with pattern lock too.


    Looks very interesting.
    I might just have to shell out the cash for WidgetLocker and NiLS, so I can give it a go on my Aldi Bauhn tablet running JB 4.1.2


    Ur what?


    My Aldi Bauhn 10.1in tablet runs JB 4.1.2, so Peek won’t run on it.
    But NiLS does a similar job to Peek, and it can run as a lock screen widget using WidgetLocker.


    I completely agree.
    root isn’t needed these days.
    System APIS for root commands would be a much better system.


    Figuring out how to do away with needing root for things which currently need root to be permanently active, is a worthwhile endeavour. But I would not yet say that root isn’t needed these days. I can’t see how the following things could successfully be done without root. Using Root Uninstaller to uninstall unwanted system apps and make incremental app install backups. Using Link2SD and a second primary partition on the microSD card. Making or restoring a backup made with TiBu. And also, with the older versions of Android, how could you manage to access the capabilities which need root,… Read more ยป


    TiBu really needs to die.
    I don’t know anyone who uses “Root Uninstaller”.

    SDcards are silly too.

    We’d just wouldn’t integrate it into a future Android version.

    Older versions could use root and we could just use this to force app devs to use system apis to the framework.

    I can’t think of any use for root that I use these days.


    Brin, I use TiBu heaps… the only other real option is Helium. What do you use out of interest? Surely you are flashing clean installs all the time?


    Generally Helium but we need to build a system backup method.
    If Google does not announce this at I/O then I’ll be putting in a huge effort into redoing Android backups.


    Scott, don’t forget that for anyone upgrading from a 2.x or 3.x device, Helium is not an option at all for making or restoring backups.
    Such users have to have root and use TiBu on their source device, and then the 4.x device has to be rootable for for installing TiBu to restore the backups.


    I learned of RU back in 2011, when I wanted to uninstall Facebook and Twitter on my LG P500 Optimus One. Both were pre-installed System apps which I did not use nor have any intention of using. RU cleanly uninstalled both apps. What I later learned RU also does, is it makes a backup of each app as it is installed, or updated. This makes doing an app rollback, a relatively easy process. The tedious part is scrolling through a very long list of app install APKs. This has saved me from the problems caused by app updates which were… Read more ยป


    No apps to be found in the Play Store or on Playboard for me


    Not sure what happened there. Playboard link didn’t work…