Back in January, when looking at a leaked pic purporting to show some unreleased Sony phones, we mentioned hearing that one of those models, the LT22i Nypon, would supposedly feature a new extra-bright display technology called WhiteMagic. At the time though, we didn’t have any details on just what made WhiteMagic so special. Now that we know the Nypon as the Xperia P, and Sony has officially announced the model, it’s taking the time to go into some detail about what WhiteMagic is and how it works.
We’ve talked about subpixels before, the individual colored elements that combine to create the illusion of a single on-screen pixel. Usually we’re talking about PenTile, or some other similar trick to rearrange the subpixel order and density. Sony’s take for WhiteMagic is a little different, introducing a fourth white subpixel to accompany the standard red, blue, and green.
If this use of RGBW sounds familiar to you, it should, because Sony’s mentioned the same technology for its camera sensors, to make them more light-sensitive. With displays, though, it’s all about being as bright as possible while conserving battery power. The extra white element in each pixel gives phone software a lot more control over the range of brightness levels it can generate. By using this software alongside the phone’s ambient light sensor, the Xperia P should be able to intelligently balance light levels to maintain similar brightness to what we’re used to while consuming a whole lot less battery up to fifty percent less.
Of course, you can overdo things and manually crank the screen up so bright that you defeat the point of all these power savings, but we look forward to seeing just how effective WhiteMagic ends up working during some more traditional use.