Theme Thursday: Business Ringtones

Theme Thursday: Business Ringtones

Sep 20, 2012

Editor’s Note: Regular column author Joseph Bertolini is currently injured. Wish him well!

This week on Theme Thursday, I decide to focus on Business Ringtones by RCP, something a bit different from the other columns in this series. The difference is obvious: this is an app focusing on ringtones, not on a visual theme. Yet, it still fits in a roundabout way. As part of Android’s fantastic ability to be customized to a device owner’s desires, there’s so many visual options that users have. Yet, os often phones are stuck making the same obnoxious sounds, or randomized set of ringtones and notification sounds that vary from phone to phone, and often even from ROM to ROM

And many of these built-in sounds are loud, showy, and just plain over-do it. Ever look at the ringtones on a phone and think, “these are just too much?” Or, “why can’t I just have a normal ringtone?” That’s what Business Ringtones aims to do.

The tones are all designed to be basic digital chimes, with enough differentiation to be used as the notifciation sounds for different apps, for example. I like being able to hear my phone go off and know based on the notification sound whether I just got a text message, a tweet, or an email from one of the accounts I check. That’s what these sounds enable me to do. There’s over 50 sounds available, suitable for ringtones and alerts alike. Each sound can be previewed in the app, and then saved to the phone or set as a sound immediately. Once added to the device, individual apps can easily use them for their various tones.

These subtle yet differentiated tones go well with a sleek, minimalistic theme. As well, they could be used with a more garish theme, operating as the mullet of phones: it sounds like business, but it looks like a party. Business Ringtones runs for $1.99 on Google Play, and there’s a video demo of the various tones available below. As well, developer RCP has other apps available with other types of tones, including a complete collection for $4.99.

Theme Thursday: Android Version Live Wallpapers

Theme Thursday: Android Version Live Wallpapers

Aug 9, 2012

Note: Regular Theme Thursday columnist Joseph Bertolini is away this week, so editor Carter Dotson is stepping in.

This week on Theme Thursday, it’s all about rocking some wallpapers that are appropriate for that Android device’s OS. I don’t mean in terms of figurative compatibility, but literally. These are live wallpapers that celebrate our various different Android versions!

First up for us lucky folks already on Jelly Bean, is a live wallpaper from the ancient masters of the jelly bean, Jelly Belly. They have released a live wallpaper called Jelly Belly Jelly Beans Jar that turns any phone or tablet background into a jar of jelly beans. Tap on an empty space on the screen to spawn a random jelly bean, then tilt the device to watch them fly around. Gravity can be configured as well!

There are over 50 different jelly beans from the Jelly Belly flavor lineup as well, because what’s a Jelly Belly app without jelly bean flavors like chili mango, pomegranate cosmo, and Dr. Pepper?

Jelly Belly Jelly Beans Jar is a great fit for any device on Jelly Bean, like the Nexus 7. However, it supports 2.1 and higher, so even those stuck on earlier Android versions can feel the Jelly Bean love, staring wistfully at an Android upgrade that unfortunately may never come.

For those a version back on Ice Cream Sandwich, or those that are thinking that while things may be smoother on Jelly Bean, ICS’s logo was the bomb dot com, then there’s a live wallpaper celebrating that robotic dessert. Ice Cream Sandwich 3D Free puts a spinning 3D ICS logo as the wallpaper. As pages of the launcher are swiped through, the delicious-looking Bug Droid (the name of the Android logo guy) spins around. When the tablet is idle, he rotates around slowly. This works not just on Jelly Bean, but also on earlier versions, because ICS is still not on all the Android phones and tablets!

For all those poor souls still stuck on even earlier Android versions, then may I suggest this generic Bug Droid live wallpaper? Use it as a reminder of how cool Android is, even if that manufacturer and carrier won’t push out that update!

Theme Thursday: Live Wallpapers

Theme Thursday: Live Wallpapers

Jun 21, 2012

This week’s Theme Thursday will be different as I realized that because the “theme” of these posts were centered around launchers that only a small percentage of the Android community utilized. While launchers are one of the more popular ways of customizing a phone the amount of diversity in this field, with no clear-cut dominant app, severely limits the number of people that my weekly theme blog posts can affect. That is why this week I will be looking at something everyone can agree on, no matter what launcher is controlling the shots; live wallpapers. More specifically, Photile Pro by Joko Interractive.

Live wallpapers have a kind of negative connotation affixed to them by some as unnecessary battery hogs, but honestly, it is not as if a majority of my phone usage time is spent staring at my home screen; although with the right live wallpaper maybe now it will be. But for me, the battery life on my Evo 4G is not a main concern seeing as I am either in class, at work, or at my desk for most of the day which affords me a lot of time to have my phone charging or connected to my laptop, and I generally am responsible about keeping the data connections disabled and such. Using a live wallpaper will not create a catastrophic drop in battery life, and based off of some of the results from Photile, it is well worth it.

Anyone starting Photile Pro for the first time should take some time to look at the preset themes that come baked in as these are probably the best places to start. They come in a bevvy of designs, from simple fading hexagons to moving squares and popping circles. These can all be changed in the wonderfully simple and friendly customization menu that gives the user total control over every aspect of the design; ensuring that total satisfaction is always achieved. For best results, however, I would recommend downloading a high quality wallpaper off the internet or from another app, it is amazing what a stunning HD wallpaper combined with Photile Pro can do to a home-screen. I would also try to avoid adding too many effects because there was a tendency to bog down the home screen on my mildly powerful EVO 4G, but once those were taken care of the wallpaper ran, and still runs, smoothly.

All in all, Photile Pro is a tremendous app that will add a ton of flavor and personality to any Android smartphone, not just a select few. As with most premium apps, I would suggest picking up the free version to make sure this purchase is worth it, but I would say that, Photile Pro is a steal for just 99 cents.

Theme Thursday – Minimalist

Theme Thursday – Minimalist

Apr 14, 2011

As many of us already know, one of the great things about Android is the large number of ways you can customize your device. Using the right combination of widgets, launchers and home replacements, you can have a radically different user interface for a truly unique experience. One of the most popular home replacements (and my personal favorite) is the ADW Launcher.

Not only does ADW Launcher add some nice customization features, it also comes with support for hundreds of themes to give it a whole new look. There are themes based on ideas, color schemes, movies, games and products. With so much to choose from, we figured it would be a great feature to highlight some of them here on Android Rundown.

And so, without further ado, here is this week’s theme: Minimalist, a theme available for free on the Android Market.

Minimalist contains stark contrasts between the black, white, grays and blue highlights, which is something I like about this theme. It’s very simple without any distractions and comes with a nice wallpaper (which you can change, if you prefer). Also, it comes with a large assortment of custom icons to keep the theme going.

There were icons for almost all of my favorite applications, from Astrid and PowerAMP to Angry Birds Rio, as well as the default applications that come on most phones. The designer also notes that if there are any icons you’d like to see, he’d be more than happy to fill the order if you just contact him.

You might find the theme too simple, but I found it to be elegant and pleasing. I also found that it made my phone feel “snappier.” However, I’m not too crazy about the browser icon. Thankfully, ADW makes that easy to change, as you can set any icon you like.

If you’re looking for a nice, clean theme for ADW Launcher, Minimalist might be the theme you’ve been looking for. If not, join us next week when I highlight another theme!