As much as I love root only utility-type apps like SetCPU and Barnacle, the real reason I wanted to root my phone was for the CyanogenMod themes. I am a huge sucker for customization, so when the T-Mobile theme engine was first introduced into CyanogenMod builds, I was excited to say the least. In fact, I covered it that weekend under, you guessed it, a Root Reviews post. As bland as it was at the time, the prospect of what it could be was fascinating. I knew it would only be a matter of time until themes got better on CyanogenMod 7, and that time has come.
Theme’s by Sonny Sekhon
It’s only been a little over a month since the Theme Chooser app was first included into CM builds, and already there has been great progress made. Not only have the included themes vastly improved, but the themes hitting the Market are great as well. There’s themes available that change the colors of icons and accents to just about anything you could want, but there’s one developer porting older themes to the Theme Chooser app that are amazing: Sonny Sekhon. While a lot of themes I’ve seen pop up change plenty within the ROM, Sonny’s changes are some of the most impressive, and by far my personal favorites.
In total, Sonny has 17 themes available on the Android Market for $1.02 each. They’re broken down like this:
Lucid, Vivid, Onyx, Monochrome, Frost, Tangerine, Ember, Sublime, and Sublime colors — Cyan, Blue, Red, Green, Grey, Purple, Yellow, Blue, and Pink.
All of the themes change the icons, dialer, status bar, notification icons, battery, widgets, wallpaper, menus, highlights, and edge-glows as well as some animations and system dialogs.
The three I’m going to go a little more in depth with today are Lucid, Ember, and Frost.
Lucid was the first theme I downloaded by Sonny and applied to my Nexus One. The color scheme is very clean and matches just about any wallpaper you have. the status bar is left black, and all of the fonts and icons are white. The battery gauge is also slender and white with the percent remaning inside. Menus, widgets, and the dialer all have a black tinted transparent look. The pre-included wallpaper that’s automatically set is a blurry macro of some grass.
Since I’ve purchased Lucid, there’s already been a couple updates that include more icons, and bug fixes. One of my absolute favorite things about Sonny’s themes is the change log in the Market listing. So far, it’s been very helpful in figuring out what’s new.
After trying Lucid and loving it so much, I decided to look for more from Sonny. I’m not one for a lot of color in my themes because I like to match wallpapers and widgets; I prefer monochrome colors like black, white, and grey. I looked at Frost, which is great if you like bright white themes, and I looked at Sublime Cyan, which matches up with the whole CyanogenMod thing very well, but one theme in-particular caught my attention: Ember. The Market listing for Ember says it’s a lot like Lucid, “but with an entirely different status-bar and notification icons to give it a Matte look.”
I find this to be true and false. While the main icons and widgets are the same, the changes to the status bar and notifications are so different it doesn’t feel the same at all. The battery gauge is a small circle made of dots that deplete as your battery drains; the notification icons are a darker grey that blend well with the status bar; and the wallpaper looks to be cracked slab of concrete.
Ember has a very sophisticated look to it. The matte light-grey status bar really looks good with the body of the Nexus One. It pulls the entire device together in a way that makes it look like the theme was just made for that device.
After seeing how Sonny has integrated monochrome colors into themes, I wanted to check out something a little brighter, so I downloaded Tangerine.
After downloading and applying Tangerine, I remembered just how much is changed by a Theme Chooser theme. Everything in Tangerine is orange, but it’s not overwhelming. I have a big problem with a lot of themes available and how they implement colors. It can be obnoxious when you are blinded by bright colors, but it’s equally as disappointing when nothing in the ROM is changed. This is one of my favorite things about Sonny’s themes. Color is incorporated into themes in a very organized way. It’s certainly a drastic change, but the way color is used to highlight and draw attention works well.
When using Tangerine, you’ll notice that all menus have orange highlighting, widgets are a black tinted transparent color, the status bar is black with orange icons, the battery gauge is circular, and more. As a special treat in this theme, the analog clock has been themed to look like a little tangerine.
If you’d like to take a look at more of Sonny’s work, or download any themes today, head on over to the developer hub now and take a look. If you do download a new theme, want to talk about the one you’re already using, or should you have any questions, comments, or opinions, be sure let it all out in the comments below.