Homebrew custom Start screen may make its way to your Windows Phone

Custom theme, anyone?

Looks like those folks at Windows Phone Hacker, specifically Jaxbot, have been working on some neat ideas for our devices. This latest trick involves making custom Tiles for the Start screen, allowing a theme of sorts to give a more unique look for your phone. Previously, they released the "Folders" option for the Start screen.

The method is not yet available as Windows Phone Hacker is once again feeling out if there is any interest in releasing it--those man hours in creating and refining this don't come out of no where, after all. Personally, we think it's pretty great looking and would be fairly excited to see this happen.

Best part is this doesn't require any deep interop-unlock, just a simple developer unlocked phone (either official or ChevronWP7 Labs), making this a seemingly straightforward hack. If interested, head over to Windows Phone Hacker or hit them up on Twitter @wphonehacker to let them know!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • The first start screen looks pretty nice, and reminds me of the huge NYC Windows Phone, though it'd get less awesome when you start pinning custom live tiles without theme support.
    The second start screen looks horrible... Not sure why someone would like to have that as their start screen.
  • YES !!!
  • This would be killer. Hope it's released. I think simply being able to edit the colors would be enough for me adding an image to the background of the tiles would be interesting too.
  • I agree. Just having more color options for the tiles would be plenty awesome.
  • Where are the people who thought the metro tiles where dull?
  • This is already available in the Advanced Configuration application. Though hopefully this new method will be easier, with Advanced Config, you have to change each app icon individually and it doesn't work with live tiles. Also, Advanced Config allows you to set the theme color to anything you like, and even add additional theme colors to your standard colors list, instead of replacing the ones that are there.
  • But Advanced Configuration requires Interop Unlock.
  • AC is generally half-assed with regards to those deepers feature that require more than a registry value change. The theme colours don't work with the white theme, and as you've pointed out the tiles solution isn't ideal.
  • I, for one, have been waiting for this kind of development to begin.  Reminds me of the Windows Mobile days.  I like where this kind of customization is heading, along with the custom "folders/hubs" thing they're working on.  I will definitely be following this development .  
  • Windows Mobile customization + Windows Phone stability = almost too good to be true...
  • Pretty neat. It'll be nice to make my WP7 device different from everyone else. 
  • Anything that points to customization is a good thing for WP7. They've got a good foundation, but many still choose android for the added functionality. 
  • Cant' wait to those people join forces with the DFT (no pun) and bring ALSO custom firmware to all other devices beside the HTCs.
  • wish i knew how to do this stuff..
    and maybe this will be added into the OS in time? =]
  • FWIW those screens look horrible to me. 
    I'm all for homebrew devs loosening up some of the WP lockdown, but both of those examples make me just a little queasy.
    And good luck reading text on the back of a live tile with a busy picture on it.
    The beauty of WP is it's simplicity and elegance. Leave the gaudy icons & wallpapers to the Android crowd.
    You want to make a usefull customization? Let me make any tile any color so I can organize them by color (red for messaging, blue for games, etc.)
    Just my 2% of a dollar.
  • YES!! This is what I've been waiting for...just because some of them will look awful doesn't mean some people couldn't find amazing combinations.  Thanks Microsoft for approving Chevron, rather than chasing around jailbreakers like Apple!!
  • Yes get this out . Let us customize our start screen. As long as the tiles update. Like if there is a miss call or missed message the tile should be able to give the same number notification as it does now. If it does that then hells yea get this out.
  • I would literally have sex with this app!!
  • this looks a lot like the Skinery App in Marketplace
  • I don't get it. I can add as many tiles to the Start screen as I choose, or move them wherever I like. I can even delete all of them if I choose. And, with several of my third party apps, I can already change the color or look of the tile. Note to mention that I can change my accent color to suit my mood. Why would I want to add a background image that required me to keep a group of tile together. Or change my built-in app icons, that Microsoft put some effort into, into some gaudy looking, rounded corner dreck.
    Here is an idea, make the tiles a bit smaller, maybe three or four across, and round the corners. Remove any text while your at it. That should make your Windows Phone look different.
  • Wow, so far, so cool. If we can do that with the plain, one color titles that will scroll left or right with the image (a metro feel) it would almost solve the custom look that WP7 is missing.
    Just take a larger image, like the tiles are a cutout looking at the image through them.... (so when it's scrolled left or right you move with the image)
    How much and how do I get ?