One of the things that makes Android a truly beautiful platform is customization. I’m not talking about custom ROMs or root mods; I’m talking about how no other major mobile platform out there lets you customize your device the way Android does. There may be some caveats, but you have the ability to make your Android device completely unique. My wife hates using my Nexus 5 because it’s so different from her Galaxy S4. Maybe that’s a bad thing; I’m not sure. But what I do know is that I have my Nexus 5 set up exactly the way I want it, and I love it. My home screen looks awesome, and not only is it super functional, it’s also fun to use. The beauty is that I can change it tomorrow if I get a new idea. My home screen isn’t going to look like everyone else’s iPhone (although I could make it look like iOS if I wanted) or Windows Phone; my device looks like no one else’s because it’s Android.
This is the sixth post of a recurring series about making your Android device yours. Today I want to share a few new apps/widgets/icons that I’ve been obsessed with lately. My goal here is to offer customization ideas that will work for all Android devices, whether you’re still running Gingerbread or you’re on the latest version of Android, Kit Kat. You don’t need to be rooted. You don’t need to be running a custom ROM. All you need is a little bit of time and an itch to change things. If that sounds like you, read on my friend. We’re going to have fun diving into the world of customization and making your device truly unique.
Within the last couple of months, some new Android theming apps have come around that, in my opinion, are insta-buys. They’re so good, I feel like I have to share them with the whole world. My biggest complaint is that I don’t have enough devices to use them all at once.
Zooper by Beard is a set of clock and weather widgets. I previously talked about Zooper Widget and how you can make your own awesome widgets. If you buy Zooper Widget Pro, you can apply other people’s awesome work. Themers known as La Barba and Richard Colón have put together a killer minimal collection of 12 clock and weather widgets to decorate your home screen. All the clock and weather widgets featured in this post are Zooper by Beard unless otherwise noted. Zooper by Beard is an $1 add-on to the Zooper Widget Pro purchase. Totally worth the buck in my opinion. Also, I know they’re already at work adding more widgets to the collection.
To take advantage of these fantastic icon packs, the easiest method is to run a custom launcher like one of the ones we talked about in this post. If you pick up these icon pack themes from the Google Play store, most of them help you out in applying them. Or, inside the custom launcher, you will be able to find the option to apply a theme. It should be pretty straight forward. Each launcher is a little different, so I won’t give specific instructions on how to apply the icon theme. Most apps will be automatically themed on your homescreen when applied. Then, if you want to further theme your apps you can generally long press an app on the homescreen and change the icon from there. Be sure to ask the community any questions you have regarding applying a theme.
Paper icon pack by Samer Zayer is one of my favorite new packs to come out in a long time. It’s an original idea and done so well. Paper has 900 icons already, and more are added every week. It also has some fantastic crinkled paper walls to go along with the icons. This pack will make any home screen look amazing. It obviously goes great with Zooper by Beard. It’s on sale right now for $0.99 if you act fast.
White Line icon pack by Sonny Sekhon actually isn’t new, but since Android 4.4 KitKat, white icons just look so clean along with the white status bar icons and nav bar (if you have a device with soft keys). Also, I absolutely love the blurred wallpapers that come with this theme pack. White Line has 1000+ icons and is worth every penny of the $1.49 purchase price, all 149 of them.
There are two rad wallpaper apps that have hit the Play Store within the last month and a half. The first I want to bring up is Behang by Ted Bates Jr. Behang is a beutiful collection of unique wallpapers from blurred photos to geometric color schemes. Most of the wallpapers in the post are Behang walls. You can also find his work online at knok.in or throw this awesome pixel pusher a bone by purchasing his app in the Play Store for two bucks. The app makes it super easy to scroll through, view and apply the wallpapers to your homescreen, and new wallpapers are being added all the time.
The second wallpaper app I want to feature is wlpapR by Jacek Malinowski. Again, these walpapers are a set which can be found online, this time at yackovsky.pl/wlpapr/. wlpapeR is a app that gives easy access to the walls prepared by Jacek and will only run you $1.10. Unfortunately, I don’t have any screen shots on this post featuring wlpapR, but go check out the website and check out Jacek’s G+ to see some awesome screen shots with his work. Just like Behang, wlpapR has new walls being added to the collection all the time.
So what themes/widgets/icons/wallpapers are floating your boat these days? There are obviously lots of other theming apps out there. If I’ve left out something that you feel is worth mentioning, please comment below and let us know what you’re using and why you think it’s awesome. You can also use the HTML <img> tag and show us your homescreen. Please! Share your homescreens! Additionally, be sure to follow your favorite themers/developers on G+ or twitter to see what new projects they have going on that you can support and potentially have an influence on. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to let us know what topic you’d like to see covered in an upcoming edition of make your Android device yours.
1st Nexus 5 setup: Action Launcher Pro, wlpapR wall, Banded icons (unreleased beta set by Alex Miller), Zooper by Beard
2nd Nexus 5 setup: Action Launcher Pro, Paper wall and icons, Zooper by Beard
3rd Nexus 5 setup: Action Launcher Pro, Behang wall,White Line icons, MNML Weather UCCW Skin, M Zooper by Beard