Every now and then updates come with interesting little surprises. Sometimes good, sometimes not. And in the case of the Android 2.3.3 update to the Nexus S, it appears to be the latter.

Users in the Android Central Forums and Google Mobile Forum are noticing that their Nexus S screens appearing to be discolored. Colors seemed to be washed out or even yellowed at some screens. Even after playing with some brightness settings, Nexus S owners are still experiencing the same visual issues. And we've seen it on our own Nexi, too. Have you guys been noticing the same color issues? If so, let us know in the comments or forums. [Android Central Forums and Google Mobile Forum]

Update: Kinda blurry video of said yellow tint is after the break.

Update 2: Ry Guy's answered on the Google forums, and the change indeed was intentional. Here 'tis:

With your new OTA complete, you may notice a slight difference in the way colors are displayed on your Nexus S. For Nexus S, we have adjusted the color temperature settings to more accurately reflect darker colors at all brightness levels. The Gingerbread UI being darker, we found that the colors were not as accurate when the device was being used at lower brightness levels. For example, some users reported that the initial color temperature was too high leading to some darker greys having a reddish tone; with the new color temperature this is no longer the case.

Youtube link for mobile viewing

There are 55 comments

lol oh boy
waits for the hate comments

it doesn't look THAT BAD but considering it's super amoled...wow lol
how does software change a hardware aspect though?

icebike says:

It look "terrable", just like he says. ;-)

balthuszar says:

samsung is notorious for their updates "breaking" their phones...ask any fascinate user...broken gps? lets fix that with an update, but the update will break the emergency call button, which will fix with another update that will break the capabilities to mount the phone to the computer. then when we get called about that issue, we'll act like we have no idea what you're talking about, and put you on hold for 3 hours...think you can call verizon and get something done? haha...they'll tell you if you can make phone calls with it, its not broken and thus there's nothing they'll do

hfm says:

If you look at many of the comments on XDA, professional photographers are saying that the new color temperatures are much more accurate, there was way too much blue before.

winsettr says:

And unfortunately, if you are not a professional photographer (most of us, perhaps?) you prefer the cooler colors. A similar comment has been made about the qHD screen of the Atrix: many users coming from AMOLED or SLCDs hate the warm colors, while professional photographers praise the more accurate colors. In the end, its all about personal preference, but the majority seem to prefer to be wowed than to be perfectly accurate.

chefkeyser says:

OTA updates are batting a thousand this week.

dswatson83 says:

Mostly Samsung

Ok, I’ll start the hating: Samsung, you suck!


ScubaNitrox says:

I will Confirm that! I knew that Google was in trouble when they selected Samsung for their next phone provider. They could saved themselves a lot of money, time and frustration by just asking one of us Captivate owners. Now, I can say in a few days once my Motorola Atrix comes in, EX Captivate owner!!! :-) I will NEVER buy another Samsung product! Ever!!!! Yes, they SUCK! :p

Mobius360 says:

I think it's safe to say that with all of Samsungs update issues of late, they are probably the worst of all the major manufactures with supporting their phones. They also suck at supporting their Blu-Ray players but that's for a different forum.

chaz_uk says:

The new colour settings has ruined the Galaxy wallpaper. For me my Blade now has the better screen. :(

meurglys says:

It could be to extend the life of the screen. The biggest problem with OLEDs is that they fade over time, and blue fades faster than the other colors. Less blue means more yellow.

SoCal65 says:

No change after the 2.3.3 update on my Nexus One.... then again, it's made by HTC rather than Samsuck. :-P

BobbyPhoenix says:


cesarb says:

Omg yes! I did notice that after I installed 2.3.3 yesterday. I thought it was just my eyes playing a trick on me but apparently it is a real issue. This is very weird how can software physically mess with hardware? Unless it changed some screen options that we don't have access from the Nexus S???

meurglys says:

It would be very simple to change the color look up tables that map RGB values in the screen buffer to intensities of the subpixels on the display. This is how color calibration works on desktop PCs. You use a device that measures the colors on the screen and then adjusts the lookup tables to compensate so that you end up with accurate colors.

You might recall there was a similar issue when the iPhone 3g came out, and the screens were much more yellow than the first-generation iPhone. You didn't really notice it much until you put them side-by-side, but I always liked the color balance of the first-generation iPhone better.

mrenne says:

My Nexus S is now unusable on auto-brightness. I used to love the screen and now it is yellow and washed-out at all levels. I would love a way back to 2.3.2. One of the reasons I bought the phone was for the screen, now I cringe every time I use it. Sad, very sad.

jdm4u says:

I've noticed similar issues on my Vibrant. Only thing is im not on 2.3.3 lol. But every now and then there is a yellow tint on my screen. At first i thought it was from all the flashing i've done to it, but not sure. Might be relevant to this.

ocellaris says:

Samsung did this so that the phones look "better" and brighter on phone displays inside stores. Adding a lot of green/yellow to image kills the quality however it looks brighter inside a store display. People are drawn to bright and shiny things even is the colors are washed out. By making the default higher brightness like this, they can ensure that the phones will often look brighter than competing models. People will be like "Oh look at this one..." Sad but true.

This is the same reason that when you look at TVs on display in stores, they are running mega bight "Living Room" or "Dynamic" modes. Pretty much every display device being sold today defaults to a retina burning mode out of the box just for store displays.

DaydreamHero says:

I think you're confusing the warm grays of the 2.3.3 update with "green push" as commonly found on TVs deliberately mis-calibrated by the manufacturers for the reasons you stated.

Compared to my ISF calibrated LCD TV, this update brings the Nexus S much closer to correct rendering of colors. It's particularly obvious when watching videos. Also, black levels no longer appear to be crushed.

People complaining about the auto-brightness don't realize that it was too bright in darkness to begin with. At any rate, if the screen is too dim in that circumstance, you can just hit the brightness button on the power control widget - problem solved.

It really bugs me that Android Central seems to be coming down on the side of the uninformed on this issue!

Ronindan says:

I am bit confused here, is the Nexus S supposed to be a pure google device and that google is responsible for the updates and other OS issues.

Wesley1 says:

Wow that sux

We've updated the story. Check it out above.

HAAS599 says:

There is an app called Galaxy Tuner that may or may not fix this. You need to be rooted. It did fix the slight blueish tint on my Epic.

Is this really Samsung's fault?

Isn't Nexus S pure Google?

Definitely noticed the change in display brightness after update. Had my Nexus set to auto-brightness, after the update the screen looks darker on auto-brightness but it doesn't have the yellow tint like picture above...

machtnix says:

Similar here. I noticed a slight decrease in contrast which improves differentiation of dark colors, but no color shift.
I don't think the yellow shift affects all phones.

supercurio says:

Trust me, colors won't stay like that :)

cporier91 says:

it's funny how they didn't mention this color change before the update began to roll out, because no one would want to update from a SA screen to a washed out LCD screen! Google, the color temps were fine before 2.3.3, you must have developers that are color blind or something.

cesarb says:

By making the screen yellow?

Se7enth Sinn says:

once again another Android user saying "hopefully they will come out with a fix".

trong says:

Is it washed out? Or is it no longer oversaturated? I don't get how people don't see that SAMOLED & Co. aren't even close to realistic color representations.

_Zguy__ says:

who needs realistic color representation in the phone UI
The over saturation looks great and is why i bought a phone with samoled
and yes to users used to the samoled it is washed out because the real black is gone
and the darker look saves battery life

trong says:

Everyone who wants realistic colors on their TV's or on their computer monitors or on any screen at all. Do you set your TV colors to max saturation? Your monitor? Do you prefer people who look orange instead of regular skin tone?

When I look at a jpg of a green apple on a phone, I want it to be regular colored green, not neon laser green.

_Zguy__ says:

The colors on my samoled captivate are the "oversaturated" variety on the home screen and where I want that look good when compared to a friends droid x
but the colors have minimal diffetence when viewing pictures
But yes I do set my plasma 1080p for nearly max saturation
Its not insane amount but neither is tje samoled screen

trong says:

It's probably useless to argue seeing as you probably can't see color correctly, given what you've said. You might want to take a look at this though:


hmmm says:

Yes. I have always thought AMOLED screens are oversaturated. Stores like best buy set all their TVs the same way to make the colors really pop out on the screen. I think it looks nice as a show piece but wouldn't want to use it like that every day.

add119 says:

To anyone here lcd isn't bad.. this isn't change lcd setting my droid have vibrant look, isnt amoled. Samsung cripple your phone because that what their best at. Google should of choice motorola for a google phone.

add119 says:

Motorola droid line have the best realistic picture image and color from any android phone, beside sony ericcson xpedia. X10

rajendra82 says:

As much as I would love to blame Samsung, this is Goggle's decision to change what they feel is the correct color tuning. But unlike Samsung's software on the Galaxy S line, this is a much simpler matter to correct to your own tastes using the kernel and driver source code.

pompezz says:

Again and again and again....there's always troubles!!!!

Errola0 says:

It's pretty funny that one of the few times you can actually blame Google instead of the manufacture, everyone still has their pitchforks aimed at Samsung.

font1975 says:

Ok for the ONE BILLIONTH time, the software and updates are from GOOGLE, not SAMSUNG. The Nexus line has no software support from the hardware manufacture. For once, Samsung has nothing to do with this.

The color temperature (which is what Google adjusted) has nothing to do with the hardware, it's a software function. Just like you change the color settings on your TV.

The colors and gray levels are more accurate. If you look at the picture you see a nice neutral gray instead of purple. But the real issue are the blacks (and therefore the contrast) seemed to have been lost. That's the worrying part, I think. Why has the contrast been lost?

font1975 says:

Weird to reply to myself, but now that I see the picture on my home calibrated screen, the change really doesn't look bad at all. Guess we'll see when I get the update :)

andyb56 says:

Why is everyone having a go at Samsung? It is Google that pushed the OTA update not Samsung!

andyb56 says:

Why is everyone having a go at Samsung? It is Google that pushed the OTA update not Samsung! The whites for me are the worst and what has happened to the battery indicator this no longer turns red!

vinny#AC says:

My N1 seems to have handled the Gingerbread with flying colors. Only issue is the super one click rooting app no longer works. Have to unlock bootloader or use some other way but other then that everything works great.
I would rather have my N1 then 2 NS's

supercurio says:

Here, for the inpatients, I published a 2.3.3 kernel version with Voodoo and previous color rendering:


Via Voodoo Control app on market, you'll be able to switch to an alternative profile. Not perfect but correcting the old purple grays issue.

Crayons#AC says:

This is really cool I was always mad that I couldn't get my phone to give me that awesome retro 1970's sepia tone on this AMOLED screen. Now I can finally watch all those M*A*S*H episodes and Battleship Potemkin with much more authenticity on my phone. :)

Andromedo says:

Not a positive change at all. If I had my pick it would be reverted exactly to the way it was previously.

Andromedo says:

Here is the link to the issue on Google Code. Give it a star:


Xepol says:

The video is crap, but the side by side pic is revealing.

Why doesn't papa google just give US control over our color temp like every other display made in the past decade? Then we can be responsible for the result and happy with it too.

blankit says:

what on earth are they talking about that the colors were bad in 2.3.2 look at this video they were awsome.....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMu_ZQ41tGM

mrgoodlett says:

Well, I am happy that there is finally a fix for the annoying random reboots....but I didn't think I would have to give up the beautiful appearance of my screen just to be able to use my phone. Let me make it clearer...I HATE THE COLOR CHANGE!!!! IT LOOKS LIKE CRAP! I want a fix/option to change the color temperature back to the way it was and keep the other fixes. I would have never bought this phone if it looked like that when I looked at it. COME ON GOOGLE....YOU CANNOT THINK THAT THIS IS ACCEPTABLE!

1stGenRex says:

Just did the update as I JUST got my phone this weekend and was on 2.3.1

I noticed the color difference immediately in the notification screen, where the gray is a LOT different. I thought the whites were a bit yellow, but I looked at some photos, some video, and the colors seemed better AFTER the update to my eyes.

Zopo says:

Well, my nexus has been updated to a 2.3.4 version now, but the screen still sucks. its too bright and colors are washed out.

was this was the fix they did to 2.3.3?