Google is encouraging developers to add darker interfaces or dark themes backing to increase the battery life of smartphones. Users have long requested for a dark theme within Android apps due to inherent brightness of the Google Material Theme. This month, at the Google’s Android Dev Summit, the company conveyed that the dark themes will help improve the battery time of smartphones, recognizing their benefits in Android apps.
According to the search engine giant, the approach to dark themes was strengthened by a graph that compares loss and gains of battery linked with different colors.
Some of the company’s findings were listed in XDA Developers:
- Brightness affects battery life and power usage mostly in linear fashion.
- Even with maximum brightness, a dark theme can reduce the use of battery to about 63% on AMOLED (Active-matrix Organic Light-emitting Diode) displays.
- Pixel color value can also affect the power usage where white consumes more power than other colors.
The company also admitted its past mistakes for associating all-white interfaces with the official Material Design specifications for several years. While the white interfaces make a better appearance, a dark theme will be friendlier to battery, screens, and even eyes. With increased brightness leading to more power usage, Google is now testing the darker themes in its Android apps and Google Feed on smartphones.
Over the past two years, the company has also discovered that certain color draw specific energy, for example, in an RGB arrangement, blue takes about 25% more power than red and green. Further, black and white are located at opposite ends of the power spectrum.
In a case study, battery savings in YouTube for Android were evaluated when a video was playing and on pause. Dark theme resulted into 60% reduction of battery usage as compared to normal white interface. Battery savings in Gboard and Google Maps were also improved in dark mode, which also makes more sense in natural usage.
While many claimed that dark mode has long been associated with enhanced battery life on devices such as smartphones, Arol Wright in XDA Developers said that the Google’s association with dark themes is not a new concept as steps in that path have already been established. Recently, Google has introduced the dark theme on its various apps including YouTube and Messages which has received high appreciation from many power users and regular consumers.