Sunday, October 12, 2014

Customization of Android smartphone. Part One. First Steps – Mobile-review

Here is the first material from a series of articles about the possibilities of customization of Android devices. In it we talk about such features Android, like widgets and live wallpapers, we consider the process of replacing the lock screen and analyze in detail a number of different types of modern keyboards.



A bit of history

Even ten years ago, to change something in your phone was almost impossible. Replace one program to another it was as unreal as the processor or replace the camera module. In any review of any phone focused not its technical characteristics and features of the software. Is there a phone app for taking notes? What is the capacity of the address book? How interesting games in it installed by the manufacturer?

Over time, users can download the application to your phone unpretentious. Although at first to do it, too, was not easy. First, a working version of the desired application for your phone model, it was necessary to find another. Secondly, it was necessary to connect the phone to a computer with a special cable, which does not always go in the kit. And then later through a separate program to install it the selected application. About changing some system functions and does not speak. Sometimes it was impossible to even set a ringing tone like a bell.

Then there were communicators and Windows Mobile, and the first phones with a custom firmware, and devices with support for Wi-Fi, with which you can easily download and install the application without using a computer. But really popular among ordinary users to customize their device or not. Too complicated and unclear. Takes too much time and effort. Too few really high-quality applications and too many pitfalls. Simply put up with the shortcomings of their number, and in a year or two just to replace it with a new device.

Apple iPhone was the first smartphone, illustrate the benefits of an intuitive interface and a single app store ratings, reviews and convenient classification programs . People who have recently thought that installing applications on the phone – the inheritance of rare “geeks” and bored schoolchildren plunged into the Apple App Store and could not get out there literally for hours. Since then, its own app store – the same familiar part of any mobile OS, as the dialer or phonebook.

Android took another step forward, becoming the first operating system, where the user can easily replace the same as any preset program or game, and virtually any system component. Simple, fast, convenient, without a long search and a heap of potential problems. It is the flexibility and customizability of Android and to this day is one of the most important advantages of this OS.

The benefits of customization

Why is the possibility of customization so important? It’s very simple. All people are different, and how to smartphone manufacturers may try to please everyone at once, do it obviously will not work.

solidly businessman Basil did not need on the smartphone game “Crocodile Swamp”, without which pyatiklassnitsa Masha can not live day. But he needed a powerful e-mail client and the functionality of the phone book with a variety of additional fields that pensioner Lyudmila Petrovna only confuse. Ivan secretly a big fan of anime, and he just needs the support of multiple audio tracks to the video player and popular subtitle formats. But the camera, he is not able to use, and the presence in it of unnecessary buttons and switches it just completely confused. Although his Roman counterpart, on the contrary, greatly worried that its smartphone is not possible to manually set the sensitivity level, which is why the pictures on a cloudy day is worse than they could be.


Of course, all the manufacturers are trying to find a more or less optimal version of the software that you can comfortably use your smartphone immediately after purchase. But they always give buyers an opportunity to download the necessary them games and applications from the store Google Play. Whether it is the latest version of the game Angry Birds, a full text editor, beautiful “live” wallpaper or keyboard with Swype.

It would seem that it is almost the perfect solution. Those who lack the capacity built-in applications, use them. The rest download from Google Play more advanced options. As a result, satisfied and those and others. But for many people here for a long time there was a kind of psychological barrier. Download to your smartphone a new game client for social network or handy player they could without any problems, but in the same way to replace the standard address book or keyboard – no longer exists. From their point of view it was completely wrong, and even a little embarrassing. Although the logic in this division applications “permissible” and “impermissible” was no, for many buyers, it was like an admission that they bought is not the best device that is now forced to “dopilivat a file” on their own.

However, the time quickly put everything in its place. Soon appeared on Google Play weight than alternative programs of professional software developers who are very fond of the users. Some of them even got into the Guinness World Records. Many manufacturers of Android smartphones with pleasure they took over the interesting findings, and sometimes even included such application in his trademark shell.

Not long ago, the opportunity to change the standard keyboard for some alternative solution appeared even in the conservative iOS. And now even the most ardent opponents of Android does not turn language call it a lot of action “geeks” or “addicted to the art students.” Some OS developers are still trying to make a good face on a bad game, stating that their users do not need all this. But, in fact, they are already to go nowhere. Now it is a kind of standard that have to follow everything. And to use these features or not, each user decides for himself.

Voice call ringtone


With time, even the most successful pre-set call time to tune pretty bored. You can change it to another song from the same pre-set, but in fact, it is the replacement sewed on soap. Especially all the options out there that are usually quite similar. So many people prefer to install the call to the music that they personally like.


However, it’s not only drawn to the beautiful or desire to stand out from the crowd. It is also a matter of convenience. You’ve probably noticed that, when in a crowded place one person phone rings, which are next to it the owners of devices of the same brand is also involuntarily drawn to its smartphones. Nothing surprising here – in most cases the same melody for many years used by the manufacturer for several lines of its smartphones. For this reason, you can miss a call, considering that the machine rang neighbor. Using more or less unique melodies completely eliminates all of these problems.

Setting ring the bell

The easiest way to set the phone ringtone using your audio player. All you need to do – start the desired track in the player and select “Set Up to” pop-up menu.

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But through the phone settings to do this is not always possible, in some shells in the list will contain only the melody of a standard set.


In older versions of Android had an unpleasant “bug”, because of which so appointed melody “flew” after rebooting the smartphone. Solve problems easily – at the root of the memory card was necessary to create a folder Media, inside the folder Audio, with her folder Alarms (for alarm calls), Notifications (for SMS, email, etc..), Ringtones (for ring tones), Ui ( for sound interface). After that, it was enough to simply move the selected music to the correct folder, restart your phone and specify the desired ring settings smartphone. As far as I know, starting with Android 4.0 this problem is no more. Anyway, I have not met her for several years.



The easiest way to quickly change the look and feel of the smartphone – to change the wallpaper on your desktop. Wallpapers can bring a sense of novelty, even in old and has long been bored smartphone. On this subject, one of the readers Android.MR even had written a whole article.

In addition, there is a practical aspect – in many smartphones mounted display, technology AMOLED. One of the features of this technology lies in the fact that the display of dark colors screen spends times less energy than a light display. Correctly matched design theme desktop, you can significantly extend the life of your device.

Static wallpaper

This is the easiest type of wallpaper, which is present in most operating systems. However, even those in the Android wallpaper is not as simple as they seem at first glance. The size of the background image a little more than will fit on the screen. And while paging desktops it’s a little scrolled horizontally. Some manufacturers do not like this effect, and they take it away from its proprietary shells. But in most cases the wallpaper on Android smartphones behave exactly.


As image for wallpaper, you can use any photo or image. Her final resolution can be calculated according to the formula “screen height” * “2x the width of the screen.” However, specially customized for the desired image resolution is not necessary – if the picture is more than you need, you will be prompted to choose what kind of part of it will go to the wallpaper.

Selection of wallpaper on the Internet devoted to many different sites. In recent years, there is even a special collection of wallpapers for mobile phones. For example, a great selection of background images from time to time puts Artem Lutfullin. Some issues are devoted to a specific topic, others are a hodgepodge of successful pictures.

Appendix “Wallpapers HD»

Any, even the most successful compilation is not suited to everyone. As you know, the taste and Matchmaker. But for a long time to search for suitable wallpapers in the internet will also want a few. Too much has to do extra action – first find the right wallpaper for your computer (in fact used for this small screen smart phone is not is not always convenient), then download, transfer to your smartphone, on your desktop, and only then evaluate how they look on the screen.

With the help of special programs for the wallpaper selection, this process is much easier. Find them will not be any work – enough to drive a search string in Google Play store the word “Desktop” and download the first one you like. Fortunately, they all possibilities are practically identical. As an example, I’ll give the app Wallpapers HD, which is used by more than 40 million users worldwide.

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All background images are divided into categories and have your popularity rating. The most successful of them are displayed in a separate tab. In addition, attached to each picture several themed tags, which can be quickly find the image. Want to pick up a good forest landscape, picture Big Ben or kitty image? Nothing could be easier.

Like the wallpaper can be added to a list of favorites, or download to your smartphone immediately set as wallpaper. In the latter case, you can choose from several types of scroll. Or completely disable it.

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In my opinion, the application turned out quite pleasant, and the selection of images in it is not bad. While there is nothing original in it, and if you choose to use any other analog, it will not lose anything.

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Live Wallpaper

Live Wallpaper – one of the “chips» Android, which first appeared in Android 2.1. The most simple live wallpaper represent a normal animated image. More sophisticated versions are full-fledged applications that have a lot of options and are able to respond to user actions.

Unfortunately, I must admit that Google Play considerably clogged low-quality “crafts”, most of which are full of advertising or requests to install any -That third-party applications. Nevertheless, among the live wallpaper there are real masterpieces. Some of them are made in the spirit of minimalism, while others are full-fledged virtual microcosm. What is more appropriate to look at the desktop, everyone decides for himself. Talk about all the interesting options in this article I will not. Too many of them, and illustrate the animation with screenshots is very problematic. To give just one interesting example.

My Log Home iLWP

My Log Home iLWP – one of the examples of complex live wallpaper with a mass of different settings. In fact, this wallpaper is a three-dimensional model of a cozy house in the mountains. Swipe across the screen allows you to “get around” all the rooms, moving the camera from one place to another.

Most of the interactive environment. You can move the chair, open the drawer, turn the lamp on or off the TV. All watches are really showing the time and the corners of the room are being overrun with cobwebs, which is sometimes necessary to clean.

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But the most interesting feature of the My Log Home – mapping the real weather and time of day. If in the real world rain, then you will definitely see it and painted outside the house.

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In the paid version of the program available for the detailed configuration of the virtual home. Hang on the walls of your photos or pictures of the rooms to remove unnecessary things, see how the weather outside the window.

This wallpaper is worth it to look at them. After all, this is the rare case where an interesting idea gets qualitative embodiment. Developers do not just draw a beautiful wallpaper, they almost created a separate world.


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