March 1, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
When Sony announced the Xperia P earlier this week, the company noted that the phone includes a display technology known as WhiteMagic. Sony Mobile has provided further detail about exactly how the display works, and why consumers can expect brighter screens with longer battery life when it appears in more phones.
The Xperia P is the first phone with WhiteMagic, a display technology that adds a fourth subpixel to the three subpixels that help display colors. Screens typically have red, green, and blue subpixels that combine to display certain colors. Think of the old lessons you learned in elementary/primary school and you’ll better understand how these basic colors combine to create other colors. The RGB subpixels work together to display all colors because the right combination of the three and backlight will make the screen display an orange, yellow, purple, gray, and so on.
WhiteMagic changes that process because the presence of a white pixel allows the screen to “display a true white,” according to Sony. Instead of relying strictly on RGB to illuminate the pixels that form a photo of an orange, RGBW allows that orange to appear brighter on screen. Sony claims that the white subpixel can add twice as much brightness when viewing the screen outdoors, and consume half as much power when viewing indoors. The screen has two displays automatically detected by light sensors within the Xperia P, so Images display with accurate color levels and the right amount of brightness.
Regardless of which mode a user enters, Sony argues that WhiteMagic allows for a better viewing experience. We’ll know how a WhiteMagic-enabled screen compares to SuperAMOLED, IPS+, and other high-quality displays soon, but here’s an illustration showing the difference between a typical LCD and the one found in the Xperia P. Get more information on WhiteMagic and the Xperia P at the Sony Developer Blog.
You notice that the higher the candela (cd), the brighter the screen. Even when running in an efficient mode, the WhiteMagic LCD has a higher cd than standard LCD’s despite using half the power.