One of the great things about OLEDs is that they are power efficient. Interestingly, for OLED displays, the application makes a great impact on the power consumption. The more bright-pixels, the more power is consumed.

If OLEDs are adopted widely, it will start to make sense to design software in such a way as to maximize power efficiency. This will be very useful for mobile devices - be it phones or laptops.

Here are a few ideas that can be used to maximize battery life with an OLED:

  • Use a black or dark background.
  • Hide parts of the application that is not used - like menus, for example. The less displayed, the better.
  • Use only a part of the screen: in OLED laptops, it will make sense to allow for modes in which not all the screen is used. For example - use only half the width, to save half the energy.
  • Dim the background: if you have a window that is not in focus, for example, it can be dimmed. This also saves power.
  • Instead of just a screensaver after several minutes (which will actually save power if mostly black), one can have the display slowly dim after a few seconds.
  • Use color wisely: to show white on an OLED, you'll have to emit light from 3 different pixels (Red+Green+Blue). To show true red, only one pixel is required. This basically means that showing a colored font will be more efficient than a white one. Showing red is more efficient than orange, too.
  • Use a flickering display: This might be a bit drastic - but perhaps we can have a mode in which each pixel is turned off at half the time. It'll save half the energy. An "interlaced" display is a similar idea.

So, okay, some of these can be annoying, and have only a slight effect. But these may prove a great option for long battery life. If I'm taking a digital camera on a long trek for a few days, I might be happy to be able to take more photos in exchange for a red menu on the OLED monitor.

Do you have other ideas to save power? Please comment and share!

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Comments

Like my old Apple II

What you describe seems like the old displays - like the one on my Apple II... green lettering on a black background...

In the article above, you

In the article above, you said:
"...design software in such a way as to maximize power usage."

I assume you meant "minimize" power usage.

Also, there are already many patents on methods for saving power using user interface design to save power.

Oops

Thanks, typo fixed.

Up until now computer displays (CRTs or LCDs) behaved differently - consuming the same amount of power, no matter what's displayed... So things might need to change soon!

Ron

Plasmas are most like OLED's

Not with Plasmas, just like LED's, plasma pixels also lights independent from each other (and no backlight is used as needed in LCD's)

I'm not sure about CRT's, but I always hate white backgrounds - it's like you are looking directly at a million light sources (in case yout are using a mega-pixel display)

It's about time

I've been living in a nightmare (ok maybe more like an ultrabright-burnmare) looking at white backgrounds in web pages and lots of computer apps that use white as background.
Since I swaped my CRT for an LCD I can't even dimm backlight to lower acceptable darkroom values:(
I guess an OLED display will last 100x more in darkroom envyronments, and you'll have a beter contrast ratio, and using black backgrounds, finally you'll stop staring at milinons of lightsources (white pixels)

Plasma
I don't think Plasma displays were *ever* used for computer or mobile phone...
Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters