CyanogenMod did something great for Android enthusiasts recently. It wasn’t a performance boosting update or a security overhaul. Instead, it was a simple theming engine.
If you run a custom ROM then you must have tried installing a theme. I’ve tried it countless times in the past 3 years but I just couldn’t stand them. None of them were exquisite, some being downright terrible. A lot of it was due to the tools the designers had. That’s changed now.
CM rewrote their whole Theme Engine recently and if you’re running the latest CM 11 ROM or other ROMs that integrate CM’s Theme Engine (like Carbon, Liquid Smooth, PAC, C-Rom etc), you already have it preinstalled.
What’s So Great About It?
Did I mention the themes actually look good? Yes, they sure do.
Other big change in the new Theme Engine is the interchangeability of theme elements (something that MIUI users have enjoyed for years).
For instance, you can download a couple of themes and have the icons from one, the boot animation from other and UI styles from a third theme. And all of it will actually work.
Finding themes – actually good themes – for CM is not an easy task. So the team has built an app called Theme Showcase that lists the best themes.
Choose a theme and it will open up on the Play Store. You can also look for themes on the XDA sub forum.
The Best Free Themes
1. Android L Theme
Now, with this theme you can get a lot closer to Android L, right down to the navigation icon on your phone.
2. White Holo Theme
White Holo Theme basically replaces the loud blue holo with a soothing white.
3. Great Freedom
Great Freedom is a bright and funky theme with a flat icon set.
4. Blue Next
What a bit of darkness in your life? Well, try Blue Next.
The Best Paid Themes
1. Fi And More
If you’re a fan of Paranoid Android, you might already know of Arz Bhatia. The up and coming designer has branched out and made a couple of themes for the new and improved Theme Engine. The only way to describe them is beautiful, in a way that Android never really feels.
And don’t worry about future releases, Arz has already pledged to update the themes with Material Design guidelines.
I think Fi is his best work and is totally worth the $3 asking price. But look around at some of his other themes as well. Another way Arz is making things interesting is by changing the base color of the theme every month. It started out with Carroty-Red.
At $1.70, Flux gives you a lot of class for your money.
3. Flats Theme
A Lot More Options
Check out this thread on XDA that lists more than 250 free and paid Theme Engine themes.
Remember that Theme Engine is still in its infancy and that actually beautiful themes are just starting to appear. With a bit of time, there should be a lot more options.
Mix And Match
As I said, the components of each and every theme are interchangeable. So download a couple of them and play around till you find something that suits your personality.