Android’s greatest attraction to phone geeks will forever be its openness. There’s a simply amazing degree of customization possible when you put your mind to it. The possibilities are- well, not endless, but close to it. Every day, people come up with remarkable hacks and modifications for Android.
Today is the start of a new series we’re working on. It’s focused on the remarkable theming ability of Android. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to use another phone operating system, you can try theming your Android device to look like that phone. The only significant change is aesthetics, but it’s interesting to try.
For our first target, we set our sights on Windows Phone 8. Microsoft’s flagship mobile OS is currently gracing new WP devices like the Lumia 910 and HTC 8X. WP8’s “Modern UI” is radically different from Android and iOS. It looks striking, to say the least. If you’re curious what it would be like to use a WP8-themed device, here’s a how to make Android look like Windows Phone.
There are multiple degrees of theming. The degree to which you can theme Android depends on the phone configuration. Some modifications are universal, others aren’t.
We put together a list of mods to install. They’re listed below in order of increasing requirements (universal compatibility to CM10-only). There’s a .zip with all the mods included at the bottom of the post.
Before starting, be sure to save a Nandroid backup. It makes it much easier to reset your phone if you grow bored of the Windows Phone look.
- Launcher 8 – Custom launcher based on WP8. Offers a high degree of customization. Widgets unfortunately look awful and there aren’t many “live tile” options. Still a cool launcher.
- Go SMS Pro – Custom messaging app used here for its theme support.
- Go SMS Pro WP7 Blue Theme – Renders Go SMS in a fetching light blue.
- Minimalistic Text – (Optional) Used in conjunction with Tasker to create custom live tiles in Launcher 8 like the calendar in our screenshots.
- Segoe WP7 Fonts for Jelly Bean & ICS – (Recovery) Copy this zip to the phone storage and flash it in recovery to change the system fonts to Segoe, Microsoft’s WP font.
- CM10 WP8 Theme – (CyanogenMod 10/10.1) This theme only works on CM10 ROMs, but it’s the most important step in the process. It recasts the entire Android UI in WP style and looks good. If you like it, feel free to pick up the full version.
We found some success building manual live tiles by daisy-chaining Tasker to Minimalistic Text. You can create your own widgets that receive data from Tasker, which can theoretically receive data from all kinds of sources. This is complicated and tedious, though.
For reference, we’ve included the .apk for Minimalistic Text. Not Tasker, though. That’s a paid app. It’s got kickass DRM, too, so don’t bother pirating it.
The Windows Phone look is good. We can see why Microsoft is so proud of it. Modern UI is a radically different take on interacting with a phone. The tiles are bold and innovative.
We personally did not prefer the aesthetic, though. It’s just not to our taste. Some of you will appreciate it, however, so theme away. The results look cool.
Windows Phone Theme Pack (does not include paid apps)