One of the joys of Android is supposed to be customisation and yet few people even bother to change their wallpaper after unboxing their little darlings. One of the problems is that most of us have been scarred by our early live wallpaper experiences - the ones that were just a little too much for our phones to handle 24/7 back when the insides of mobiles weren't quite as chipped up as they are these days.
Fortunately, things are different nowadays. Android smartphones have harnessed much more bite with plenty of RAM and often a dual-core processor to help kick things along. So, today is the day you fight back and remember why it was that you chose the Google OS in the first place. Here are the best Android customisation apps around at the moment; all well worth a tinker.
If you've got yourself a Android phone with a slightly annoying user interface on it - as basically most people who don't own Nexus or HTC Sense phones do - then LauncherPro is a superb way to iron out those creases in your experience. The launcher also happens to represent pretty much the ultimate frontier of Android customisation short of rooting your device altogether, so the app brings with it a certain amount of kudos too.
To really get the full out of LauncherPro, you need the paid version but the basic still brings you a far zippy home and app screen, a customisable and scrollable desktop dock, as many home screens as you like and all sorts of tweaks and tucks thereabouts. It might seem a bit overwhelming and possibly a touch pointless to begin with but going really granular will pay off in a big way once you get things just right. Not a quick fix but a very good one indeed.
Whether it be wallpapers, notifications or ringtones that you'd like to make your own on your Android smartphone, Zedge is a good place to start. Zedge is home to 32,996 of the first lot, 82,903 of the second and a whopping 537,828 of the last. That's a few to choose from and luckily you can break them down into categories or simply search by name and subject matter.
The bits and pieces of downloadable media are user generated but there's a fairly tight net from Zedge when it comes to copyright material. All the same, if you're looking for the theme tune to CHIPs, you'll probably find it. In fact, we just did. The only down points to this app are that there's a fair bit of dross (where those filters come in handy) and there's also some nasty banner ads that could dupe you into paying for things. Just stay within the app UI and you'll be fine.
PhotoWall Live Wallpaper
Like most good apps, PhotoWall Live Wallpaper tells you pretty much what it does in the name. It's live wallpaper comprised of photos. Simple enough. The fun comes in because it's your photos that we're talking about and there's all sorts of different settings to choose from in terms of how you'd like them to appear. They can fade in and out, they can be a pile of overlapping Polaroids or a puzzle of pictures or a wall; you will need the 69p upgrade pack to unlock some of these though.
PhotoWall will take photos from your gallery app, or even specific folders within it, but, given permission, it's also equally adept at rifling through either your Facebook or Picasa accounts as well. At some point, of course, you'll chance upon a picture that you don't remember or you'd like to take a look at in more detail, so all you do is click on it to open it up in its own right. Yes, this app might hog a bit of your RAM but it's well, well worth it. Read more
Koi Live Wallpaper
There's very little that's as tranquil as watching fish swim around a pond and Koi Live Wallpaper gives you the chance to do that wherever you go just by gazing into the screen of your mobile phone. There's not quite as many options as you get with My Beach HD below but your 69p investment still buys plenty of tick boxes and sliders.
You can adjust how many, what type of and how large the fish are; whether or not it's raining and how hard; the numbers of lillypads and flowers, and how big the rippling effect is when you tap the screen. Best of all though is when you double tap the screen to drop in some food and watch all your little friends come along for a nibble. Lovely stuff.
“Beautiful” might be pushing it a little far but, presumably, the marketing department over at LevelUp Studios didn’t think Nice Widgets would be as compelling. Either way, what the app offers is, funnily enough, a selection of widgets for your desktop largely based around clocks and weather with the addition of little toggles for functions like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode and all that jazz.
There are widgets to suit every size from one square up to the entire screen and you can even choose what source your widgets take the time and weather from as well as how regularly they call home.The Beautiful (Nice) part of things comes in because you can download lots and lots and lots and lots of different themes so that you can change the background, the typeface and even the tone of your widgets with all sorts of pretty, scary, futuristic or whatever skins you're after. Read more
My Beach HD
My Beach HD is quite simply the very best live wallpaper we’ve come across so far. It’s not as factual nor interactive or even as clever as some, but it’s smooth, it’s beautiful, it’s detailed and, most of all, it’s fun. Your 99p outlay buys you some beachfront property on a summer's day on what we imagine is a well to do spot of upstate New York. Not bad for a quid.
With it, you get any, all or none of a ball, bucket, cooler and drink, towel, umbrella, blanket, bonfire, bottle rocket, clouds, lifeguard chair and all sorts of other details that you can change including the weather, time of day, time of year and even a little sign which you can scrawl upon as you will. The possibilities are almost absurd. Read more
One of the big wow factors when the Nexus One arrived were those funky, interactive, live wallpapers that we could have spanning our desktops and secretly chewing through battery life and taking up precious RAM. So, eventually, these get a little dull and actually something more subtle and speedy becomes appealing. Step in Colors by developer Tim Clark. Colors is a very simple look at wallpapers for Android. Like the name suggests, the app offers you a choice of plain colours. All you do is pick one and it becomes your wallpaper. Now, that sounds rather dull but there are a couple of things to bear in mind.
Firstly, there are lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of colours to choose from. Secondly, they sort of all look brilliant, and thirdly - probably the part we like best - is that you can chop and change whenever you feel like it without having to search the Market and download another app. Forgive the American spelling. Colors is still a fantastic app. Read More
Ever wondered what the little Android mascot would look like in a nice suit? Or perhaps a dress? Or maybe even what he'd be like if he worse a bikini, had a bright pink afro, sported ballet shoes and had skinny legs? If you answered yes to any of these questions then it's clear that you're a very strange person. But you're also in luck, because with Androidify you can find out the answers to all of those wonders and more.
Androidify lets you can customise the little green robot (what is his name, does anyone know?) with an absolute wealth of styling options. You can dress and accessorise him however you want, and you can even change his body shape as well. "Why?" you might ask. Well, so as you can post up your effort on Twitter of course - that's what everyone else seems to be doing anyway. Read More