Would Love an Always On Screen
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  1. #1
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    Would Love an Always On Screen

    I've been reading how the new Samsung Galaxy 8 phone has an "always on" OLED screen. Which basically means it can show a very limited amount of info on screen (like the time) at all times. Your screen never is completely black. They've apparently got the tech so that it uses only around 1% of battery life to have this feature enabled.

    I'd love for Apple to use this tech in any new Apple Watch. Imagine the face of the watch could always be on. No having to raise wrist to see it. I've always thought an Apple Watch with the face visible is very beautiful, but with just the blank black screen, looks rather ugly. And most people only see the blank screen while you're wearing it so it's not very fashionable compared to real watches. The always on screen though could be game changer.

  2. #2
    Moderator German Watches Forum
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    Re: Would Love an Always On Screen

    Perhaps Samsung is onto something lighting only part of the display.
    However, the display uses only part of the power. The display also
    needs to be calculated and updated to show the time. That power
    may be the same independent of how many pixels are lit. It may be a
    matter of scaling of the various components. That Samsung phone's
    battery is 11 times the size of the battery in the Apple watch 2 (38mm).


    Thanks,
    rationaltime

  3. #3
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    Re: Would Love an Always On Screen

    There should be a way just to show hours and minutes only, without a lot of battery drain.

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  5. #4
    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Re: Would Love an Always On Screen

    Meh. I'm happier that they added a "theater mode" that keeps the screen off unless you tap it.

    (it won't light up due to an incoming message or accidental wrist raise, which avoids disturbing other people in a movie theater.. hence "theater mode")

  6. #5
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    Re: Would Love an Always On Screen

    No need for me to use theater more.

  7. #6
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    Re: Would Love an Always On Screen

    Quote Originally Posted by ronalddheld View Post
    There should be a way just to show hours and minutes only, without a lot of battery drain.
    Do I have it right? The Apple watch can display photos and video.

    Sure, you could show just hours and minutes, but this goes beyond software.
    This is not a 7-segment display. In principle you could compute the display
    you want, latch all the display information, and shut down the graphics
    process until the next update. Using a minimal number of lit pixels would
    reduce the power dissipation.

    In practice I think the watch display is strobed to save power, meaning
    with the display on the display clock is always running with its full load.
    Most likely the graphics process is also running when the display is on.
    That burns some unseen power.

    I would guess, though, most of the display power goes to making light.
    You aren't going to be happy with "hours and minutes only". You are
    going to want a watch dial without seconds or, with just four digits
    displayed, you are going to want full width. Four times as many pixels
    lit costs four times as much power.

    Next, you are going to want white or blue. Those colors use more power
    to generate than green or red. I don't know if it would be more efficient
    to display lower intensity near the peak of human vision (about 555 nm)
    or display only red, but one of those is necessary to save power.

    If you could live with a small, red dot and a small green dot that moved
    around the perimeter of the display to indicate hours and minutes then
    maybe it could be on most of the time.

    I pretty much believe in "direct law". However, in this case given the
    OLED display I would save the power before I would allow the user to
    choose always on.

    Well, that is my opinion, but I am open to others. What do you suggest?


    Thanks,
    rationaltime

  8. #7
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    Re: Would Love an Always On Screen

    Quote Originally Posted by rationaltime View Post
    Do I have it right? The Apple watch can display photos and video.

    Sure, you could show just hours and minutes, but this goes beyond software.
    This is not a 7-segment display. In principle you could compute the display
    you want, latch all the display information, and shut down the graphics
    process until the next update. Using a minimal number of lit pixels would
    reduce the power dissipation.

    In practice I think the watch display is strobed to save power, meaning
    with the display on the display clock is always running with its full load.
    Most likely the graphics process is also running when the display is on.
    That burns some unseen power.

    I would guess, though, most of the display power goes to making light.
    You aren't going to be happy with "hours and minutes only". You are
    going to want a watch dial without seconds or, with just four digits
    displayed, you are going to want full width. Four times as many pixels
    lit costs four times as much power.

    Next, you are going to want white or blue. Those colors use more power
    to generate than green or red. I don't know if it would be more efficient
    to display lower intensity near the peak of human vision (about 555 nm)
    or display only red, but one of those is necessary to save power.

    If you could live with a small, red dot and a small green dot that moved
    around the perimeter of the display to indicate hours and minutes then
    maybe it could be on most of the time.

    I pretty much believe in "direct law". However, in this case given the
    OLED display I would save the power before I would allow the user to
    choose always on.

    Well, that is my opinion, but I am open to others. What do you suggest?


    Thanks,
    rationaltime
    I believe it is a matter of style and not tech. For a glance at the time, a minimal mono display is enough. Write pixels not show images.

  9. #8
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    Re: Would Love an Always On Screen

    Quote Originally Posted by ronalddheld View Post
    I believe it is a matter of style and not tech. For a glance at the time, a minimal mono display is enough. Write pixels not show images.
    I can't argue with your personal beliefs, but I am not convinced.

    Apple included features in the design to limit the time the display is lit.
    That is sufficient for me to think they were concerned about power
    used by the display rather than style.

    There is another concern we have not mentioned yet. OLEDs have a
    history of degradation after continued use. The technology has improved,
    but there may be some lingering conservatism at Apple to prevent display
    degradation from affecting customers.

    Though it could be implemented in some other way, I think there is no
    "write pixels". Every pixel is part of an image. To light just one pixel
    you need to load the entire screen buffer and keep it active. The
    power used would be some base number for the electronics plus
    some number roughly proportional to the light emitted for each color.

    Because of the power used by the display I expect Apple is working
    on improving the display technology. It is not only Apple. Other
    companies and universities are also working on improving the materials
    and techniques used in making LEDs, whether "OLED" or otherwise.
    I expect there to be increasing LED efficiency demonstrated over the
    next several years.


    Thanks,
    rationaltime

  10. #9
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    Re: Would Love an Always On Screen

    Keeping it very simple the "O" in OLED hides a lot of technical difference behind it. The one that applies here is that in OLED, you can light up specific elements (pixels) independently. That is how in Samsung phones you can have the screen showing at all times. Out of the 2560x1440 pixels in the screen only the ones that are part of the numbers are lit up, thus having very low power consumption.
    Doing that on an LED display is not possible. The screen has a lighting substrate which is either on or off. That is what consumes the power.

    edit: as correctly noted by BarrackSi, the Apple Watch does indeed feature an OLED display. As such, my post is largely informative if irrelevant to the topic. My apologies.
    Last edited by eresaru; April 5th, 2017 at 03:56.
    ronalddheld likes this.

  11. #10
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    Re: Would Love an Always On Screen

    Quote Originally Posted by eresaru View Post
    So until the Apple watch moves to an OLED display, ...

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