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Google finally realizes that Dark Mode is good for the battery

Google admits favoring white color in Material Design. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
Google admits favoring white color in Material Design. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
At the ongoing Android Dev Summit, Google talked about how Dark Mode can have a positive impact on battery life, especially when it comes to OLED screens. Google happened to look at various parameters that affect power draw such as brightness and color. Hopefully, this means future Android versions will have an option for a native OS-level Dark Mode.

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Google seems to have finally realized the obvious — Dark Mode can help with increased battery life. In a presentation at the ongoing Android Dev Summit 2018, Google showed a few slides that explain how it arrived at the conclusion. Dark Mode helps power conservation in devices with OLED screens as the pixels are completely turned off unlike LCDs where power is required to display both white and dark shades. Dark Mode is also easy on the eyes, especially at night and therefore, it is not surprising to see users clamoring for a Dark Mode for most apps.

Google's data showed an almost linear relationship between display brightness and power consumption. The testing was apparently not done on the latest hardware but they did compare the first generation Pixel's AMOLED display with that of the iPhone 7's LCD and measured the power consumption while using Google Maps in normal and night mode. Not surprisingly, the Pixel's AMOLED had a 63% lower power consumption in night mode while the iPhone 7's LCD had the same consumption in both modes. 

The Mountain View giant also looked into the relationship between power consumption and color. Each color has a different effect on the battery with combined RGB consuming the highest and green consuming the lowest, just below red. At maximum brightness, black had the least power consumption while white had the highest. 

Google did admit that they've been pushing Material Design with an emphasis on white backgrounds on Android. That might change in the coming days as more Google apps will likely start offering dark theme options. We do hope that a future Android version can offer a native OS-level Dark Mode just like Windows Phone so that users need not look to third-party solutions such as Substratum. 

Linear relationship between display brightness and power consumption. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
Linear relationship between display brightness and power consumption. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
Power draws compared between AMOLED and LCD. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
Power draws compared between AMOLED and LCD. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
Power usage values with different colors. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
Power usage values with different colors. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
Power draw by different colors at max brightness. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
Power draw by different colors at max brightness. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
Power draw comparison between White and Dark Modes in YouTube. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
Power draw comparison between White and Dark Modes in YouTube. (Source: Android Dev Summit 2018)
 

Source(s)

Slashgear via Android Dev Summit 2018 Presentation

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 11 > Google finally realizes that Dark Mode is good for the battery
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-11- 9 (Update: 2018-11- 9)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.