An app available on the Play Store is promising to increase one of the most valuable commodities in modern-day smartphones – battery life. The app, currently available for download from the Google Play Store, is called the 'Black Screen of Life' (BSoL), an obvious play on the dreaded 'Blue Screen of Death' or BSoD, which has become a bit of a running joke for desktop Windows. While BSoDs on Windows can be highly frustrating for users, the new BSoL app claims to alleviate at least one major cause for concern of smartphone users by trying to eke out that little bit extra battery life, seeing as screen-on time happens to be the single biggest reason for battery-drain in smartphones and tablets.
The app promises to do that with a simple trick – by turning off the display while playing videos. Sounds counterintuitive, may be, but not if you're watching a music video without any interest whatsoever in the video aspect of the multimedia file. Activating the app in that case will turn the display off, while the audio will still continue to play in the background, meaning, you'll get the best of both worlds. This will provide a welcome relief for many users, who may want to just listen to the audio from a video file without needing for the video to keep playing, thereby using up valuable battery. The app works by using the phone's built-in proximity sensor, which is normally used by the phone to turn off the display during phone-calls to stop accidental taps on the screen. According to the developer, the app, once enabled after installation, can be easily activated by just placing it upside down on a surface, putting it in your pocket or even using a piece of paper to block the proximity sensor, which can be found on the top bezel of smartphones, right next to the earpiece.
The developer is also highly apologetic about the lack of a snazzy design for the app, but the simple design aesthetics and the playful font may actually make it kind of endearing and add to the charm of the indie software, when seen in the context of overly commercialized and jazzed-up interfaces of most apps on offer today. Either way, this particular app is meant to run in the background, so it's not too often that users will have to deal with the UI at any rate. As mentioned already, Black Screen of Life is currently available on the Play Store for free. The app however, does come with some ads in the free version, although those are fairly inoffensive and unobtrusive. The paid-for version, which is available as an in-app purchase, promises to do away with the request to watch ads altogether.