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Android M embraces the dark side with new theme options

Android M Development Preview allows you to choose between light and dark backgrounds

Not everyone was a fan of Android Lollipop’s shift to bright white menu screens, and it appears Google have taken this on-board for Android M. Phandroid reporter Derek Ross shared this screenshot on Google+:


Not only is the screenshot dark, but it shows a Theme option listed in Developer options allowing users to choose between light and dark interfaces. However, this new dark theme appears to be limited to the system for now and doesn’t apply to any Google apps.

For years, Google embraced the dark side and had jet black system apps, most notably the Holo Dark theme in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. However, as part of its major redesign for Android Lollipop year last, the new OS  embraced brightly coloured app icons and white system menus.

This move prompted quite a lot of criticism from some hardcore Android fans. For instance, an impassioned user called BOSDown, wrote on the Android Central forums:

Its incredibly BAD!!! WOW the colours are just INSANE WHO MADE THE STUPID DECISION TO MAKE EVERYTHING LOOK LIKE IT CAME FROM A TOY STORE!!! I agree with previous comments as well EVERYTHING IS WHITE, i am a very high pace businessman I use my phone everywhere, its a little silly when I am sitting on a table with high partners and my phone looks like kids toy!! its A JOKE!! i use the calculator all the time and now it TOO IS WHITE?!?!?!?!? WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY????????????????!?!?!?! i cannot even begin to relay my frustration with how betrayed and disappointed i feel.

However, not all of the criticism was just on aesthetic grounds. A bright white background drains a lot more power from a smartphone’s LCD screen than a dark one does, with a full brightness white pixel using 5.8 more juice than a black one.

This new optional dark theme as an example of the ‘polish and quality’ Sundar Pichai said Android M would bring to operating system in his Google I/O 2015 keynote, after last year’s massive overhaul.