Ever had trouble viewing your phone screen in bright sunlight? The Xperia™ P solves this problem through Sony’s new WhiteMagic™ technology, which introduce a fourth sub pixel, adding a white to the red, green and blue that common displays have. By combining this sophisticated new hardware with advanced algorithms, the display becomes up to twice as bright and up to twice as power efficient. When used outside with “outdoor mode”, the screen of the Xperia™ P is one of the brightest displays on the market; while inside with “indoor mode”, it is extremely power efficient.

Xperia™ P is the first smartphone with an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) that utilises Sony’s WhiteMagic™ technology. In common LCDs, each pixel is divided into three sub pixels which are aligned horizontally beside each other. Each pixel has one red, one green and one blue sub pixel. In our WhiteMagic™ display, we add a white sub pixel beside the other three, so that each pixel consists of four sub pixels.

With WhiteMagic™, the red, green blue and white (RGBW) sub pixels are aligned horizontally. This illustration shows four pixels in total.

In LCD screens, the sub pixels are made of liquid crystals in the three primary colours through which the backlight is filtered in different proportions to compose different colours. In normal LCDs, white is represented by letting the backlight pass through all three sub pixels in the right proportion. In the Xperia™ P display with WhiteMagic™ technology, the light can also be filtered through the white sub pixel, to represent a true white. WhiteMagic™ technology will significantly increase display brightness compared to normal LCD and OLED screens. In this way, WhiteMagic™ technology can be used to double the brightness or to save up to 50% of the backlight power based on user’s preference and surrounding light. By making the display brighter, it also brings out details in images and video content.

Super bright outdoor mode and power efficient indoor mode
With WhiteMagic™ technology, the display operates in two different modes called outdoor mode and indoor mode. To simplify, outdoor mode can be described as a mode using all LED lamps that provide backlight, while in indoor mode half of the LEDs are used.  With the same content shown on the screen, outdoor mode reaches double the brightness compared to indoor mode. In other words, indoor mode can save up 50% of the power. Indoor mode saves power by intelligently analysing the individual content’s colour composition, so there are no worries about colour distortion. The Xperia™ P is equipped with a sensor that measures the light in the environment, and depending on the surrounding light the display settings are automatically changed between indoor and outdoor mode.

In the settings menu, you can choose to manually set the level of brightness. In this case, the use of indoor or outdoor mode is fixed and the light sensor is turned off. This means that when choosing a high level of brightness, outdoor mode is always used, while with a low level of brightness indoor mode is always used.

Choose between bright mode and power efficient mode
When automatic brightness is enabled, there are two options for users – bright mode and power save mode.  In bright mode, your phone will always prioritise a bright and clear viewing experience and at the same time save power compared to other displays when indoors. In power save mode, the WhiteMagic™ technology is combined with a lower level of backlight to save even more power. It has up to 50% lower backlight compared to bright mode. This way you prolong the battery time, which lets you use your Xperia P even longer without charging. However, in both cases the backlight is adapted to surrounding light to provide a comfortable viewing experience.

Illustration of the difference in brightness between a normal LCD and the Xperia™ display with WhiteMagic™, and also the difference between outdoor and indoor mode with WhiteMagic™. cd/m2 means candela per square meter.

Xperia™ P is capable of up to 935 candela per square meter (cd/m2)  which is more than any other phone with the same level of pixel density (pixels per inch – PPI)  on the market.

Developer tips
By using as much white as possible in the content shown on the screen, you can make your app less power consuming when running it on an Xperia™ P. For example, if you have a use case where power efficiency is crucial, you can save a considerable amount of power by using only black and white. When your app is running on Xperia™ P, the display will then save up to 50% in power consumption, compared to most other displays. In addition, almost all use cases where natural photos are used saves power, since these normally contains a lot of white. Also, Images of humans and natural surroundings save a lot of power, since the colour saturation tends to be low in these kinds of images.

So what do you think of WhiteMagic™? Do you think about these things while developing applications? Let us know what you think! Drop us a line below with your comments.

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