December 6, 2019 weblog
Opera for Android ushers in new night mode
With version 55 of its Android browser, Oslo, Norway-based Opera has a redesigned night mode that "reduces the light pollution caused by your phone to the bare minimum."
Its news release said that Opera for Android has already had long standing support for night mode, enabling users to darken their browser beyond the limits of the device's UI. With version 55, though, this feature has been redesigned from scratch. It allows you to adjust the color temperature setting to minimize the amount of blue light emitted, as well as go super-dark, via a new array of settings.
Stefan Stjernelund, Opera for Android product manager, said this version of Opera allows you to suppress blue light and go super dark.
Actually, you can do more than one thing with the new feature. You can dim the browser, turn white pages into dark and you can even adjust the color temperature of your browser manually,
Jules Wang in Android Police said that sites supporting dark mode CSS "will obviously be able to go dark, but Opera is also able to inject its own changes to other sites' CSS to turn their white backgrounds noir. Users can set how dim and warm their display panel can be."
That bears repeating as that is a strong talking point about what Opera has done with its version 55. Gizmodo's Catie Keck: The feature is to "dim the piercing white of web pages that don't yet support dark mode on their own."
"Dark mode is a user experience option uses inverted color palettes to provide mostly grayscale versions of your favorite social platforms and operating systems. For screen fiends hoping to stay away from the light—without actually turning said screens off—it's a comforting alternative to the blinding white most websites traditionally offered," wrote Eleanor Cummins in Popular Science last year.
Cummins tagged 2018 as "the real year of the dark mode" having spread to six new platforms including Reddit, Apple OS and iOS, Android phones and YouTube. But wait, Gizmodo's Keck maintained that "2019 was truly the year of dark mode." She noted all the places it popped up but she made an important point where Opera did not just come on board but stands out.
"Opera takes a different tact on dimmed browsing," she said, "with a focus on minimizing the amount of blue light coming from the device. Plus, Opera lets users schedule their night mode settings to either turn on during specific hours of the day or automatically."
Opera was inspired by some homegrown conditions. With its international base, it was also inspired by its appreciation for geographic differences. All in all, it gives the user the ability to adapt to sleep rhythms.
"With this release, by turning our browser super dark, we've made sure you won't disturb those around you who are trying to sleep. You will also feel more relaxed once it's time to put down your device for the night," added Stjernelund.
Not only that: Stjernelund explained that "The winter months in Scandinavia tend to get really dark. With only a few hours of sunlight each day, we noticed that most of today's devices' automatic brightness settings cannot go dark enough, often disturbing everyone's circadian rhythms. We decided to fix this issue with our browser."
Opera said it lets users set their own times or allow the device follow the natural rhythm of the day by automatically adapting to the sunset/sunrise times in their region.
A night mode on a display screen definitely has its fans. Better life for your battery? Check. Relaxing? Check. Actually healthier for your eyes? That needs explaining.
Interestingly, though, it was indeed the eye-strain pitch that made it to headline status for Opera's Dec. 5 news release on its having gone toward a new night mode. "Opera for Android puts less strain on your eyes with a new night mode and by turning bright web pages dark," said the header. "Your eyes are important," said a promotional poster. "Take care of them."
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has this to say about dark mode: "Instead of featuring a predominantly white background with black text, the typical dark mode displays a black background with white or colored text or shifts lighter colors more toward pink and red instead of blue. The contrast and colors used in night mode reduce glare and help our eyes adjust more easily to surrounding light, leading to less eye strain and easier, comfortable reading."
Blue light does not cause any damage to the eye, but decreasing blue light exposure and limiting screen time and brightness can help you sleep better and feel more comfortable, said the Academy, in the article of May this year.
"There are many important benefits to blue light exposure. Various studies explore how a healthy dose of blue light could help maintain mental performance, decrease nearsightedness in children, etc.," said Raj K. Maturi MD, an ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the Academy.
"Although blue light exposure is important to some degree, it is true that sleep cycles may be disrupted if not handled in moderation at night. Studies show young people are particularly susceptible to blue light affecting sleep. Luckily, our technology has adapted. A simple way to avoid both sleep disruption and eye strain is to turn on night mode on our iPhone or Android devices."
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