At the recently concluded Android Dev Summit, not to be confused with the I/O Developers Conference earlier this year, Google shared information with developers on how a smartphone actually spends its battery life. This is pretty important, if not obvious, information for them as they create their products since battery drain is a huge concern for a lot of users. And now Google is admitting that one of their design pushes may be responsible for eating up too much of a phone’s battery life.
What Google shared about battery life isn’t exactly rocket science but it’s still good to have it on paper for developers as they continue creating products that users will be consuming on their phone. Brightness is one of the most obvious factors that contribute to quick power draw. They also compared the battery consumption on Max Brightness in normal mode and in night mode, and obviously, the latter saves more power. It is worth noting though that what they used in the study was the first Google Pixel.
Another battery drain study that they did was on color. Each one has a different effect on the battery life with R (we assume red?) having the most effect at full brightness, followed by G (green?), and B (blue?). Another chart shown was the difference between max brightness of various colors like black, red, green, blue, and white. Obviously black has the least effect while white uses the most power.
Which brings us to the moment when Google admits it made a mistake. Sort of. Their Material Design initiative has basically been pushing for white as their primary color for all their apps and interfaces which obviously leads to bigger battery drain. From a design perspective of course that’s perfectly okay, but from a battery perspective, that doesn’t really help.
Google didn’t say that they were going to stop with all the white. Instead, they are pushing the Dark Mode as an alternative for users who want to conserve their battery. Google will continue releasing Dark Mode options in their apps and they are encouraging developers to do the same.