App of the day: Paperland Pro review (Android)
Paperland isn't strictly speaking an app. What it is in reality is a live wallpaper, but that sort of undersells it a bit and the value it has. So for the sake of this, we'll call it an "App of the day".
What Paperland is though, is something that seems universally popular and can raise a smile with anyone who sees it. This little animated world gets its name from the fact it looks like it's made from paper cutouts. It's a cute, slightly childlike - in a good way - animated scene that goes continually on the wallpaper of your phone.
- Google Play
There are two versions of Paperland. One is free, and gives you access to the basics. We used this for months and were perfectly happy with it, we only really upgraded to the "Pro" edition as a way of thanking the developer for their hard work. It also costs only £0.64, so it's really a very cheap little app.
Although the scene is quite simple, and repeats, there are a multitude of customisation options that you can use to make the wallpaper unique to you. You can, for example, switch off rainbows, change the colours to autumn or summer tones. If you'd rather not have the app track the time where you are, then you can switch that off, and just have day or night all the time.
You also have the option to turn on cities, office buildings and houses, as well as tweak hills and lakes. There's so much customisation here that you really can build a wallpaper that's just yours, without actually having to have any of the high-tech coding skills that such a thing would require if you were to write your own from scratch.
If you want to keep things simple, then there are some predefined themes too. These use a variety of colour palettes, so you can match them to your tastes, or perhaps even your phone hardware. There are also extra scenes too, like the beach and big cities that are exclusive to the Pro version of the app, so none of those nasty freeloaders can have the extra designs.
The newest feature to be added to Paperland is live weather. This is currently working only in the US, but the author has written a blog post about why this is - problems finding a provider that can cope with the demand - and when it should be fixed. The answer is, soon. But you can see by the demo in the settings that live weather is something really rather lovely and worth enabling. It brings not only day and night phases to the wallpaper, but also weather conditions.
It's probably one of the simplest apps there has ever been for Android phones, but it's also the one that's held our attention for the longest and the app we still enjoy having on our phone. We don't use it all the time, but going back to it is always a breath of fresh air.