Microsoft Edge goes dark (kind of)

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As I've said a number of times, web browsers are a huge cause of power drain on AMOLED-screened smartphones and through no fault of their own - it's the prevailing web background of 'all white' that means that AMOLED screens are pulling maximum power all the time. Happily, Microsoft is taking steps to move part of its Edge browser into 'dark themed' territory. Though with an obvious caveat: this version of Edge is unlikely to make it to Windows 10 Mobile - in fact, this brave new version of Edge is available only on iOS and (below) Android. And even then, only a small part of the experience is 'dark' - but, hey, it's a start.... [Update: see the comments below, there IS a way to get Reading Mode all dark in Edge under Windows 10 Mobile and it's not obvious - I'll have a tutorial for this within 24 hours]

From an MSPU article:

The update brings along a very attractive dark theme, giving the options of the default, light and dark appearance of the app.

More importantly, the app will now sync passwords with the desktop version of the app, just like the iOS version, after you log in and verify the device using some form of 2-factor authentication.

The browser uses a WebKit rendering engine and is smooth and fast on most Android devices. It offers such features as synced favourites, a synced reading list, continue on PC support, a feed adjusted to your interests, the choice of multiple search engines, auto-fill forms and passwords and can be set as your default browser.

It seems if Edge is your default browser on the desktop currently there is very little reason it could also not be your default browser on your android phone.

Microsoft Edge for Android isn’t available to all users at the moment, and you will have to join the preview program to be able to get your hands on it. The preview program is open to everyone though, so you can sign-up for it here. Once you are part of the preview program, you will be able to get the browser on your Android phone here. 

What with Rafe and I chatting about Microsoft apps and services on Android in the podcast, it seemed appropriate to at least try this new beta of Edge on Android - is it a dramatic breakthrough in the browser experience? Not really, but it was interesting:

Screenshot, Dark EdgeScreenshot, Dark Edge

You have to follow the specific links (above) to get to the Preview, but it does all join up; (right) once installed, you're offered the chance to sync your passwords through your Microsoft account from other devices (e.g. Windows-running phones)

Screenshot, Dark EdgeScreenshot, Dark Edge

'Appearance' is front and centre and it's a no-brainer on an AMOLED-screened phone to keep it 'dark' as much as possible.

Screenshot, Dark EdgeScreenshot, Dark Edge

Unfortunately, the theming only applies to all screen furniture and menus, not to the web pages themselves. Yes, I know that changing the styling conflicts with what a web designer might have specified back in his cosy office, but why shouldn't the user have a choice? (right) there's a workaround of sorts, with the built-in Reading mode, which strips out anything unnecessary and - yes - can be part of the 'dark' theme. So we (kind of) got there in the end!

Comments welcome from web authors - is there a major reason why web browsers don't offer dark backgrounds with light text? What am I missing? The power savings for AMOLED screens would be enormous. Surely it's just a case of switching out white or light backgrounds for all-black (or dark grey) and then making all HTML text white?

Source / Credit: MSPU