Auto-rotation is one of the thing I either love or hate. When it works right, it’s wonderful! The gyroscope/accelerometer inside my device recognizes that I’ve turned it and quickly switches the display from portrait to landscape — or vice versa. Luckily, this process usually happens fairly quickly. Unfortunately, rotation does take a second or so from the request to rotate until the screen is fully rotated and usable, which can seem like a long time — especially if you didn’t mean to rotate the screen in the first place.
When I’m laying down or leaning against something, very often my screen will rotate to landscape when it shouldn’t. The screen changes, which takes a second or two, then I have to rotate it back, which takes another second or two. All in all I’ve lost only a few seconds of my life to this errant screen rotation, but the continuity of whatever I was doing it lost. Movies may pause and need to be restarted, my place on a web page or in a social media app may be lost, or I might have to go back and re-read the previous paragraph of whatever e-book I was devouring. No, it’s not the end of the world, but it sure is annoying — and I’m not alone. Samsung has a cool app on many of their newer devices to intelligently rotate the screen based on the orientation of your head — but only those Samsung devices that it comes pre-installed on can use it. XDA’s StupidIdea and Vitalij decided to develop an app for the rest of us to use which utilizes your front-facing camera to assist in rotation.
The app is called GMD Smart Rotate. Download it and try it out for yourself! The app promises to rotate your screen based not on the sensors in your phone, but upon the tilt of your head — sort of. How does it work? Hit play and find out!
Some drawbacks include the inability to work in low-light scenarios (where the camera can’t see your face) and the additional delay in rotating the screen. It appears as if the screen rotation is still triggered by your accelerometer, but is “double-checked” by the orientation of your face — which often results in a double-rotation. Additionally, the front-facing camera on some devices isn’t positioned well to work the way this app intends, and your mileage may vary.
GMD Smart Rotate is a great idea that probably isn’t quite ready for prime-time — not just yet. The developers know it and are calling it a “development version” that “may contain bugs”. Don’t let that stop you from giving it a try! We’d love to know your experiences with this app so the developers can improve upon it! When commenting about how it worked for you, don’t forget to include the make and model of your device as well as how it worked for you!