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Google Granted Patent That Allows Android to Change Display Qualities Based on Battery Level

google oled patent

Battery life in a mobile device is very important. All your fancy specs won’t mean anything if you can’t keep it turned on more than 15 minutes, so we’re seeing companies either putting bigger batteries in their phone like Motorola’s MAXX line or trying to innovate to make batteries last longer. Seeing as how the display in a device is usually the biggest battery drain on a device, Google has just been granted a patent that allows Android to read the battery life of a phone and change the display accordingly. 

In this listing, the fine print lays out the procedure of how this patent will work. Depending on the amount of battery left, the operating system will change the display to lessen the amount of power it draws by disabling blur and animations between screens. If the battery is extremely low the operating system can even lower the resolution of the display.

This certainly sounds like the type of tech we would expect Google to include in a Nexus device, maybe if we are lucky we will see this in the Nexus 5.

Via: Google

  • Total_telecom

    I see the word blur a lot. Guess the patent is registered to Google and will be licensed to Motorola? Who is owned by Google ..

  • spunker88

    The decrease display resolution part looks nice if it can be harnessed by some root app that allows you to change resolutions for gaming, etc like you would on a desktop for better GPU frame rate and lower power draw.

  • X-Phone.

  • people complaining that they should just make new battery tech have to realize, that the don’t make the battery tech. someone else needs to do that, and until its given the green light, they have to use what they have, and try to get the most out of current batteries

    • sirmeili

      And to add to this, even if they did make better battery tech, wouldn’t you want even longer use out of the phone? I don’t get why people complain about this in favor for better battery tech. Having both is what is better than having only either one.

  • ataraxia

    If this were an Apple patent, DL would be tearing it apart. I do love DL, but seriously, as another commenter has suggested, this sort of battery-life-triggered hardware/software manipulation has been standard for quite sometime in laptops and other systems. This isn’t innovation at all, not even incremental improvement.

    • sirmeili

      If this were an apple patent they would use it to sue as many people as they can (or they have in the past). Google doesn’t traditionally go after people for using their patents. They patent to protect the idea from people who go sue happy with them.

  • I don’t think Google would patent hard coded tech to turn off “Moto Blur”, especially when A) they own Moto, they could be getting rid of it in their next devices; B) what about TouchWiz and Sense? If they’re referring to turning off skins, then why just name one brand’s?

    I’m not sure exactly why “Disable Blur and Animations…” refers to (Animations is obvious), but I highly doubt they’re talking about Moto Blur…

  • Samvelavich

    Project roadrunner anyone?

  • Jon

    OLED? No LCD? OLED is that bad in power consumption?

    • sirmeili

      No, actually it’s great for power consumption due to the lack of a back light (each pixel provides it’s own “light”. of course, this means that if you have a white background, you’ll use more power than if you have a black background on your phone.

      But even then, using OLED and this patent make your battery last even longer.


      • alan

        With real world content typically shown on screens, OLEDs don’t perform any better than LCDs in terms of power comsumption. Most websites have white backgrounds and don’t most people just surf the internet on their devices? If anything, they probably end up using more power.

  • Eric Schwartz

    No need for this with the Droid Razr Maxx HD – that thing is a beast!

    • Tyler

      You dont want longer battery life? Lets just say you get 2 days with 5hrs of screen time and with new battery optimizations in the new OS that increases to 2 days with 7hrs you wouldnt want that?

  • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

    How about just put a battery in there that will last end of story

    • sirmeili

      How about we have both? What is the harm in that…so even if you double the battery life with a battery and this adds 20% on top top of that, isn’t it win/win?

      Anyways, Google doesn’t make batteries, so what you are asking doesn’t even fall into their field of expertise.

      • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

        If you want both I guess there is no harm in that. Its just a function I would never use especially if I had a battery that lasted me all day no problem.

        As for the second part of your comment I won’t be mean I will just kindly point out that I wasn’t asking them to make a battery I was asking them to put a battery in that will last. Last time I checked they did own Motorola who has a knack for making outstanding batteries but even if they didn’t I am sure they could partner with an OEM who was doing great things with batteries.

  • DJyoSNOW

    The screen will go dark and resolution whack?? O_o

  • Ryan Northrup

    Doesn’t this fall under the “can’t patent mathematical algorithms” rule, this mechanism being dictated by a mathematical algorithm and all?

    I mean, I’m all for Google innovating with Android, but come on now.

    • sirmeili

      No…..it’s not an algorithm. It’s just checking the battery levels and changing the settings on it’s own (much like tasker does, but it actually changes the settings for the display like colors, resolution, and animiation/blur)

      • Ryan Northrup

        That is an algorithm. It is taking a numeric value (the battery level) and performing a function upon it (determining what to shut off / reduce based on that value). It’s just as much an algorithm as f(x) = x^2.

  • ßen Murphy

    One word: Tasker

    • Tyler

      Three words: IS ON SALE!

  • Ghee Buttersnaps

    Slightly off-topic but kinda related: Has anyone tried any of the Powerbag products by Ful? Saw them and wanted to get some “Droid-Life” feedback…

  • See Apple, now THIS IS INNOVATION

    • This is beyond innovation and it’s something that is completely impossible to do on the iOS platform seeing as all their apps and system libraries are created with only one resolution in mind and not able to adjust based on the actual display size and density.

      • michael arazan

        I wonder how many software’s they are sitting on till they get patent approval.

        Sad they can’t even put innovation to work for them until they have it patented first, makes you wonder about the pile of imaginative innovation they are sitting on so the competition doesn’t steal it.

  • MichaelFranz

    this would be nice, hoping its user configurable and not a hard coded thing.

  • Bionic_Pags

    Looks like Blur is a big battery drain, since it’s the first thing to get disabled… here’s an idea – GET RID OF BLUR!

  • Can I claim prior art? I’ve used Tasker to reduce brightness on the display and clockspeed when power is low, this is an obvious extension to that.

    • sirmeili

      the Patent is specifically tied to changing display settings including resolution, color depth, brightness and even some OS display settings like animation/blur (not sure you can affect “Blur” right now in settings, but you can animations).

      So, while I think they both can be used to accomplish close to the same goal, tasker doesn’t even attempt to go to the level this one does, nor does it probably have the access to do so.

      I could see how your argument might work, but I Tasker would have to show that the intent of the app was to do what the patent is for, which it can’t because it doesn’t have the access to due what the patent claims.

  • nvitone23

    I think this is a very interesting idea, as long as we are able to set the points at which it occurs.

  • NorCalGuy

    “First disable blur” love it

    • Mike Reid

      I read it as always disable Blur.

      No end to this flowchart says enable, and no part neglects to say disable.

      Of course people (Google ? !) may not understand how flowcharts work anymore. Of course Moto was/is a losing company when Google bought it and I see no turnaround yet.

  • John Jenness

    How is this patent-able? Isn’t this the same functionality most laptops have now?

    • antwonw

      No, most laptops have auto dimming. Much like how mobile devices have auto dimming. In most laptops and mobile devices the software will tell the device to dim the monitor when it’s on battery or even to dim it more when the battery is low.

      This patent is different. It’s telling the phone do change it’s resolution. So take for example the Galaxy Nexus who is notoriously known for bad battery life. It has a 720p display. That’s 1280 × 720 pixels. WIth this patent, the OS would tell to not display 1280 × 720 when the battery is, say, 20% but instead to change it to 1024 x 576. Then it could say when the battery reaches 10% change the resolution down to 800 x 450.

      While you can change the resolution on every computer in the OS preferences/settings, I don’t know of any OS out right now that will change the resolution of a laptop when the battery gets low.

      • John Jenness

        Windows 7 Power Options will allow you to shut down “non-essential ports”, monitor brightness, etc. I guess this is a little different.

    • Josh

      Anything is patentable nowadays.

    • VICO Y

      The same way a company can patent a rectangle shape with rounded corners…

  • Jason Scofi

    i never understood why they wouldnt let you control how much of the screen is used.
    only turn on one of the screen. display the same amount of content, just on 50% of the screen. save battery that way

    • sirmeili

      Only if it is OLED can you do that. other screen types I don’t think it’s that easy as you’d have to find a way to disable half of the backlight. OLED it’s easy because the pixels themselves produce light and there is no backlight involved.

  • Hmm… that also seems counter-productive. It would be saying: “Look at this awesome display… which you will never get to use.” Why not just use a crappy screen that never uses much battery in that case?

    • sirmeili

      Because you don’t know the %s that this starts to take affect. Maybe it starts at 14% (the current low battery warning) at which case, I could go all day, most days, without ever having this intervene. I mean, if it starts taking affect at 90% then sure, but we just don’t know yet and I think that would be a silly assumption.

      • But here’s the catch: at 14%, this is already too late. Your phone is already almost dead, and disabling animation or turning down brightness won’t save that much battery. And angry user who still wants to use their phone would think, “why did this feature let the phone get to 14% in the first place?” But, if that takes effect at 50% (where it can arguably be a good feature), then half the time you use your phone, the screen will suck, and so will your experience. What’s the point of having a super amazing screen then? Don’t get me wrong, the idea is a good one, there is just no good implementation of it.

  • Adam Emshwiller


  • Brent Cooper

    Sounds like a good idea. I just wish they would innovate in new battery technologies rather than in ways to make current batteries last longer.

  • r0lct

    Since reducing resolution may kill app compatibility (games, launchers, etc) I would assume this is just to step 1080p down to 720p. Or for non-phones devices (like a watch).

  • Ryan

    LG’s batteries now have silicone inside for a 6% better life and they are high density. This means they can take 800 charges without reduced battery life. the Lucid 2 will have a 2460MaH battery and be free on VZW hell ya. IPS display and I get 2 days out of it.

  • Brandon Golway

    Pretty awesome, but I hope there would be a way to disable it.

  • Andrew

    Disable MotoBlur automatically when the battery is low?


    • tyguy829

      I would never charge my phone above that 14% then!

    • Brandon Golway

      I think they’re referring to screen blu and not motoblur but then again I could be wrong.

      • MikeCiggy

        I was thinking this but Blur is capitalized seems more like a reference to the name than the effect.

        • Rafa Sandoval

          But.. Everything is capitalized . they’re not referring to motoblur.

        • Justin Winker

          My bet is animations. It would make it appear less smooth, so it would save battery life by not having to render those types of animations.

          • Brandon Golway

            That’s pretty much what I was saying in the beginning.

        • Steven Webb

          Good point. However, pretty much every word is capitalized. The only words that aren’t are and, of, by, for, in, and on. Just small words.

      • Tyler Cameron

        What is screen blur?

        • Brandon Golway

          aka “motion blur” aka the effect that you get when trying to record something and you or it is moving too fast for the image processor to keep up with.

  • tkc122


    • supermiah

      Scary to see Google mention this in a anything!!!!!!