We recently reported that Themer, by MyColorScreen, had released an invite only Beta of their new launcher and phone theme app. I quickly applied for a code and it arrived about ten days later. Here is my review.
Themer Beta Concept:
If you didn’t read our article, of have never heard about themer, here is a quick run down. Unlike so many of the other launchers available for the Android platform where you have to spend a considerable amount of time setting up the device till you get it just the way you want, Themer Beta is designed so that you pick a theme, and it does everything for you. That includes setting up a set of specific widgets, background wallpapers, style and transitions.
There is a vast range of themes to choose from, and the list is growing everyday as more users suggest themes and people upload new ones. Each has their own style, theme and feel, but all run on several basic principles. The most evident of these is that many of these themes are simple. I don’t mean in terms of style, but rather than have eight pages of apps and widgets, the themes tend to have a maximum of about three to four pages, each with a specific function.
Page and widget functions:
Themer Beta runs on the maxim that as long as you have the most important information available, you’re unlikely to need dozens of pages worth of widgets. The information MyColorScreen as decided are most important are:
- Missed calls
- Missed SMS
- Missed Emails
- Batery level
- Time & date
All themes will tell you at least these six items of information on the main screen. A great feature is that you can press on these information icons to be taken straight to he related app. You can also press on the time to be taken straight to the time or your favourite alarm app and pressing on the weather will take you to your favourite weather app (if installed). Some themes will show you this bare minimum of information. Others go into a bit more detail. There is also a widget for a news feed, up coming appointments and music control. Some themes will also have a page of preloaded folders with apps they fell most people want. For example, there is a folder with all the social apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Instagram. There is a folder for shopping pre-loaded with Amazon, Ebay, Groupon and the Google Play store. If you don’t have one of the apps it offers, it will take you straight to the Play store for that app to download it, which I think is a neat trick.
For apps which are more ambiguous, like Twitter, it will ask you which app you want that icon to represent. It will ask you this only once when first using it. Then, every time you click on the Twitter icon, it will take you to your favourite twitter app. If you don’t like the themes icons, you can change that by tap and holding on the icon. A contextual menu will appear allowing you to edit the app’s name and icon, much like on the stock Android launcher.
There are some drawbacks I have noticed though in the few days I’ve been using the app.
Firstly, at the moment, the widget which tells you how many emails you have waiting doesn’t take into account people who use more than one email account. I, for example, have a Gmail account and an iCloud email account. I use the standard Gmail app with my Gmail account, and K9 for my iCloud account. The email widget will only show me an email count for my gmail account. A small, but annoying flaw.
Secondly, the SMS widget doesn’t take into account you may use a separate app for messaging that the stock messaging app. For example, I use Contacts+, not the stock Samsung messaging app. This will, in fairness, give you a choice of either the stock messaging app, Facebook Messaging, Skype or Google’s Hangouts app, but nothing else, which, again, is a small but annoying flaw.
Finally, if you want to use another icon for a folder or app, the only option you are given is to go to your photo gallery to get the icon. If you’re using a proper icon pack, you can’t access these via the gallery app. You can’t even use Themer Beta’s own icons if you want, which seams odd.
Being that the app is still in beta, it’s a great piece of software to have on your phone or tablet. You certainly won’t get bored quickly with the massive range of themes already available and with the promise of more coming, there’s no reason to believe this won’t be a great success. Yes there are some flaws at the moment, but with it still being in Beta release, these flaws are going to be easier to fix than when it reaches full release. A quick email to the very responsive app developer and they will do their best to update the app, which currently happens at least once a week.
I look forward to playing with this app as it develops and see what kind of themes the developers and users can come up with.
Themer Beta is available for free via the Google Play store. You will have to sign up with an email address where they will send you the code (mine took about ten days) before you can use it. It is also currently only available for users on Android 4.1 and above, but they hope to slowly release it to more users as the app progresses.