Google releases APIs for Day and Night modes

by: John DyeFebruary 24, 2016

There’s a lot of things to love about Material Design. In addition to being stylishly minimalist, the design language obeys a set of rules that try to mimic “magic paper” in such a way that navigation is intuitive, uncluttered, and natural. However, there is a dark side to Material Design, and by that I mean the light side. Since the style imitates cards and paper, and since paper is by and large white, what we’re left with is a whole lotta bright, glaring emptiness. This isn’t a problem during the day, but in a dim environment, nothing sucks more than swiping to the Google Now home screen and getting your eyeballs scorched out of their sockets.

material2-16x9-1080pSee also: 10 awesome examples of material design (updated)32

Fortunately, Google is finally alleviating this problem by introducing APIs that will let developers working with Android 4.0 and forward create different profiles for day and night. This will allow apps to automatically change their style and UI layouts based on the time of day. This is one of those features that makes so much sense that it’s a little bit bewildering that Google didn’t develop it sooner. After all, Pokemon games have been effectively running day and night modes for the last decade and a half.

Day/Night support is just one part of Android Support Library 23.2. Also included is bottomless sheet support. Head over to the official blog post to see the full details, or watch the video above to see grown-up, parallel-universe Malcolm in the Middle explain it all while dressed as a concierge.

video cardsNext: Google now shows app videos in the main Play Store screen
  • Fernie

    It could be an indication that Android N will sport a dark theme.

    • Michael Acosta

      Well there was a marshmallow preview (I think the 1st one) that had a system dark mode so yeah this has been in the works

    • Kawshik Ahmed

      This image is from Google Developers Blog and it looks like an image of Android N to me. Because the setting menu have a Hamburger Menu plus Dark and Light theme.

      • Chris

        Reminds me of the material dark skin on Samsung phones

  • charlie Jason

    Dark theme makes so much sense, given Google’s own 6P has an Amoled.

    • insomniac

      Dark is not ‘Black’, so nothing to get excited about AMOLED.

      • charlie Jason

        Amoled still uses much less power displaying dark colors.

        • insomniac

          I do not know how light/energy they emit in specific color. But ‘Dark’ will not stop AMOLED to lit, where ‘Black’ color will. Thats how black color saves energy.

          • xoj_21

            it lit, but uses less energy cuz a pixel is made out of subpixels, the one are are OFF in grey colours
            of course battery saving would be huge if black

          • It depends on color values as voltage is applied relative to that.

            (0,0,0) which is black will have no voltage applied to any subpixel, (256,0,0) I.e. red will have only voltage applied to red (max voltage). (256,256,256) I.e. white will have all 3 subpixels at max voltage.

            So very dark grey; say (10,10,10) will consume around 25 times less power on AMOLED compared to white.

            They won’t turn off completely, but the voltage applied will be far lower, consuming less power.

          • charlie Jason

            Of course dark colors still use energy unlike black, but the way that AMOLED works makes power comsumption low when displaying dark colors.

      • Chris

        AMOLED is still better then lcd.

        • Android Developer

          what about burn ins ?

  • Chris

    About time. Google always last to do these things

    • jeroen T

      Except there is no other phone OS that does this?

      • Omar

        One plus X dude!

  • ZaidButt

    good work google

  • Pamela

    Why doesn’t Google just make a dark theme?!