A developer over on the /r/GalaxyS8 subreddit at Reddit recently purchased an LED View Cover for their Galaxy S8 and ended up being a bit underwhelmed by its features. The developer was wondering why Samsung wasn’t adding in some other features and does mention that it could be updated in the future. Until then though, they started to reverse engineer the LED icon editor and LED Cover Service applications to learn more about the system.
While going through these applications, fonix232 says they were able to make a number of discoveries about how certain things work with this LED View Cover. To start off, they found out that the case can actually be updated with a firmware update, enabled by its low-power controller. Samsung is using this controller to handle all of the graphics so it should be possible for people to upload their own hacked firmware. However, they warn that messing this up could brick the LED View Cover.
They also found out the LED View Cover uses regular NFC, but isn’t sure how they were able to figure out NFC tag cross-talk because the NFC reader is still usable. Since it uses NFC though, they believe the framework can be backported to AOSP and possibly implemented into LineageOS. Samsung is trying to keep this locked down so that you have to use the original application and so far it doesn’t seem like the stock firmware will use any extended features.
Samsung is using a proprietary format for the images they are using with the LED View Cover as they are using a .spr extension. Some old video games used this file extension for sprites, but this is actually a proprietary Samsung format called SemPathRendering. This specific cover can also detect touches at the top and bottom, so it can do more than just display things. There’s a second LED display on the bottom and they feel there are commands not in use that send data to the secondary display.
If you want to contribute and find out more, check the Reddit thread below!