Jul 02 AT 1:34 PM Taylor Wimberly 17 Comments

Night-vision mode could double your Android’s battery life

To what lengths would you go to extend the battery life of your Android phone? Would you switch your display to night-vision mode if it could reduce the power consumption in half?

Android engineer Jeff Sharkey has discovered a fun hack that a allows you to power each specific color channel (red, green, and blue) found in an AMOLED display. Organic LED displays have separate pixel elements for each color channel so powering only one color can save quite a bit of power.

Which colors use the least amount of power? Jeff hooked up an industrial power meter and found that powering only the red pixels could nearly double the battery life.

“Filtering to show only red pixels only requires 35% of the original baseline OLED panel current, on average. Adding back the baseline current, the best case overall is about 42% of the original system current, effectively doubling the battery life. Also, showing only red pixels doubles as an awesome night vision mode, perfect for astronomy.”Jeff SharkeyAndroid Software Engineer

For the full details on how to apply the hack, be sure to visit Jeff’s blog. This looks like an interesting tool to conserve some power at night, so I expect we will see this feature built into some of the custom ROMs like CyanogenMod.

Source: Jeff Sharkey

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Xallies

    U want this

    • http://Website Xallies

      I meant i want this.

  • http://Website shaneaus

    I’m loving that! I can set that up when I go to bed and if I need to check something on the phone the light won’t bother my wife. We keep our bedroom pitch black and ANY light looks bright – even my phone with the brightness set to its lowest!

  • http://Website Android.Luvr

    Sorry, this is grossly misleading.

    Reducing screen power usage by 50%, great, I’m with you so far, but …

    How does that equate to doubling battery life? That assumes the screen is the only power draw in the device, which is completely not true.

    • Tebbe

      This article doesn’t explain it very well, but Jeff was measuring the current draw of the device, not just the screen. The 42% is referring to the power consumption of the entire device and was measured with different applications running. So it does approximately double battery life for certain usage patterns.

    • http://Website NeoteriX

      You need to read the article more closely.

      The Google engineer adds back in the “baseline current” which is the measurement of power consumption with a completely black screen, or in other words, isolating all other power consumption (processor, radio, etc.). So the 42% figure quoted includes baseline power consumption.

      Running red (under best, so atypical circumstances, are you can see the settings app draws a lot less juice than any of the others) will draw 42% less total power than running a comparable app with a full display.

      • http://Website NeoteriX

        Edit: I just noticed, measurements were taken in airplane mode, so no radios are not included. Needless to say, radios off takes away a large amount of power consumption that would otherwise typically be a part of one’s usage patterns.

        • http://Website Daniel

          Exactly. This will only double your battery life if you use airplane mode, keep your screen on 100% of the time, and never use anything processor-intensive. Quite far from the typical usage, I’d say.

          Still an interesting experiment, nonetheless.

  • http://rusnov.net nickr

    Oh man, ever since I noticed the night vision mode in google Sky, I’ve wanted a generalized night vision mode for everything else. Can’t wait till this is widely available.

  • rock hopper

    How do I download this?

    • http://Website lolobabes

      I was gonna ask the same question, lol

  • http://Website Jacob

    DO WANT! :0

  • Fictionise

    Extremely useful. So useful that I’d root my phone? I’ll pass.

  • http://Website Please

    Please release apk!! We need this application!! :)

  • http://Website moosc

    Is there a stand alone app for this feature? I lived it my Cr 6 Rom but I’ve moved onto my X.

  • http://Website Hola

    I found an app that do this thing! It’s called DECOROID, the paid versione offer this kind of thing, it cost 1 dollar..

  • http://HowicangetthisNightVisioncodeforAndroid? girish patel

    How i can get this Night Vision code for Android?

    Please you reply me Must,

    Thanks & Regards,
    Patel Girish