New Accents in Windows Phone 8 offer more choice for personalisation

Windows Phone 8 will introduce a number of new colours for consumers to choose from when personalising their handset. We've previously covered Microsoft's latest additions to the selection of accents available in Windows Phone, so how much of a difference will the new colours make to the overall experience?

Homebrew Theme app getting a nice update to make theming easier

Although the percentage of you who want to customize the Tiles on your Windows Phone is pretty small (not to mention technical limitations like being developer unlocked) the project by Windows Phone Hacker has had some success and interest. An update is in the works and it looks to be quite good for those who are into this scene.

More themes to choose from in Windows Phone 8, or just an added black accent?

The black and white HTC 8S sports a unique black (on light) theme for use, according to a hands-on video by smartphoneinfos. We've taken a good look and it's definitely a new theme. The question is if this is simply an exclusive colour to HTC or we could well be seeing more colours on offer for use in Windows Phone 8.

Many (including ourselves) have been after more themes since Windows Phone launched back in late 2010, and a black theme was high in the request list. Looking at the theme in action on the HTC 8S indeed makes it seem possible that we could see more colours available to choose from when personalising a Windows Phone.

Poll - Which HTC 8X Windows Phone colour would you choose?

Which HTC 8X colour would you choose?

The recently announced HTC 8X is a colourful Windows Phone from HTC, which is a step in a new direction compared to what we're seen from the company in the past with its aluminium and dark plastic builds. Providing consumers more choice in terms of colour and design is definitely what we need to make Windows Phone stand out against competitors.

That being said, it's always a pickle when it comes to actually deciding on what colour you'd like to own. Are you white, blue, green, red, or even magnolia? Smartphone looks can be a personal preference when multiple variants of a single device are available.

Amazing Weather v3.0 with new themes is now available for download on Windows Phone

In the race for the coolest weather app for Windows Phone, you're the winner. Which is why we love to bring the news of app updates in this area for Windows Phone, since so many of you have your favorites and lets be honest, everyone needs a weather app.

We reported earlier that Amazing Weather (review) was going to get some major new themes in version 3.0 and sure enough, that update has just gone live in the Marketplace. Here are the changes:

  • 3 beautiful themes
  • 3 distinct live tiles
  • weather alerts
  • offline mode
  • auto location using GPS
  • 5 different cities,
  • refined UI with charts
  • support for new languages

The auto-location using GPS is great as you can pin that tile to your Start screen and it auto-updates your location when the weather is refreshed -- perfect for those of you on the go.  The new themes are great and a clear shot at Weather Flow (who went after the "realistic weather" model that Amazing Weather had originally brought).

So far we're really liking Amazing Weather and the update mostly because it delivers radar and a detailed weather forecast. The app fetches for a $1.29 in the marketplace with a free trial. Is it the best? We'll leave that up to you but we'll consider this as one of the top contenders.

Make sure you take a look at our "Best Weather Apps for your Windows Phone" if you need some more ideas!

Chickens Can't Fly invades Windows 7

We mentioned it briefly but the new Windows Phone Xbox Live game Chickens Can't Fly now has its own Windows 7 theme. It joins other gaming title themes such as Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds and the Xbox Kinect game Gunstringer.

The Chickens Can't Fly theme includes wallpapers, sounds, and colors (no screen saver). The graphics look great and the sounds unique. But I have to admit it takes some time to get used to the chicken cluck as your alert sound.

You can find the Chickens Can't Fly Windows 7 theme pack here at the Windows download page.

From the WPCentral Developer Forums


If you haven't checked it out already, then you should head over to our developer forum. It is one of the newer sections in the growth of the forums. And it's not just for developers!

The default Metro look on Windows Phone 7 is certainly beautiful, but is not for everyone. So if you're looking to change the look of your device, then go take a look through all the different themes that our users have created, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Next up, would you like to beta test some applications/games? You will not need an unlocked phone, and it's a good chance to try out new products before the rest of the world. Also, if you are a developer why not request some testers in the forum. It always helps getting a second pair of eyes on your work.

Then, for you more adventurous individuals, we have the Software Development and Hacking section where you can get help with a potential problem with Zune/Chevron or maybe just post screen captures of your WP7.

Finally, if you need help getting started with WP7 dev or want to take advantage of a great offer for free app translation to Swedish then go on over to the developer section.

From the WPCentral Forums...custom themes!

We mentioned yesterday that we're opening a theme area on the site for those using the WP Hacker program to make custom Start screens/tiles. In turn, we're hoping to see some creations come out that would wow-us a bit and luckily someone took us up on it.

Forum member Saljen has posted up five themes so far, including the one you see above aka 'Glass'. The others are just as fancy, specifically Wood, Steel, Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2. Not bad, not bad at all! In fact, we're gonna try and load up Glass here in a few minutes.

Oh and Saljen gets bonus points for creating a custom WPCentral App tile. Anyways, feel free to add your creations for others right here.

New to the WPCentral Forums -- custom themes and beta testing

In case you needed another reason to join our forums here at WPCentral, we'll give you two:

  • Custom Themes Forum - Here you can post your custom theme creations based on the Windows Phone Hacker customizer tool--share them, post screenshots, get feedback or make requests. We have a feeling this will become the new rage for the Homebrew scene, so if you've created a theme and want to share it, here's where you go
  • Beta Testing Forum - Developers, developers developers! Do you have an app that you need beta testers for? Looking for a place to interact with some of the best and brightest Windows Phone users? Then post your beta announcements here and get some feedback from our users on what features they want and how things can be improved before you submit to the Marketplace

All in all, we're thinking both of these new areas should start attracting a lot of new submissions and heck, we'll even feature a few of those custom themes on the front page, if they're good enough.

So get creating, you devs and artists, we want to see your work! And don't forget to spread the word--the more of you, the richer the offerings.

Themes customizer tool for Windows Phone released [Homebrew]

Last week we mentioned how Windows Phone Hacker was working on a homebrew hack to allow you to customize your Start Tiles on your phone. The trick only requires a developer unlocked device (no interop-unlock) and some patience to get your phone to look the way you want. Overall the trick looks simple enough and could be a great way to kill afternoon. Features include:

  • Customize any tile (system or third party, including Marketplace)
  • Use your image as a background for the tiles
  • Use an accent color for overlay transparency
  • Import themes
  • Export themes
  • A bundle of joy with easy personalization ;)

There's even a tutorial video to get you started on your project. Head over to Windows Phone Hacker for the file and more information and maybe jump into our forums to start sharing your creations!

Accent color changes in Mango. No your eyes aren't playing tricks.

Anyone noticed in Mango some slight tweaks to the Accent colors? Specifically the Lime and Magenta colors seem to have become less deep/contrasty? Well, according to @MS_Nerd, indeed those two colors have undergone a slight modification as you can see above.

MS_Nerd also notes that "Fujitsu uses original lime as custom color.", referring to the IS12T. Going further, HTC now has an "HTC" Accent color on the Radar and Titan that is also more closely matches the old lime, which we like.

While on newer screens, the A2C139-Green isn't too bad, it looks completely washed out on some of HTCs older offerings e.g. the Arrive and HD7. In that sense, we understand why HTC is opting for their own green now, giving users no less than three shades.

Source: @MS_Nerd

Change background colour in WP7 [How To]

A good majority of us has been intrigued by the white background and black live tiles combination of themes, not to mention choosing the color scheme of your device by hex values instead of a limited (but aesthetically pleasing) list. Thankfully diaahussein and rmcgraw have come up with a sweet little guide (especially convenient for us newbies).

You will need an unlocked device (read up on our Chevron team coverage) and have a registry editor installed. This process involves altering system settings on your phone and WPCentral cannot (and will not) accept any responsibility or liability for devices that end up continuously displaying the following image when booting up:

Head on past the break for the steps and a video tutorial by Saijo from 1800PocketPC.

Windows Phone Halo 4 Wallpapers and Themes

If you're a Halo fan, you're going to want to check out Conflicting Gamers latest Windows Phone Wallpapers and Theme. Much like theo L.A. Noire and Portal 2 wallpapers and themes, there are four transparent wallpapers to choose from as well was eight Live Tiles and four Picture Hub backgrounds.

And they look really good.

You can download the complete set over at Conflictinggamers along with directions on how to install each (it's really easy). As much as my son plays the Halo series, I'll probably download the Master Chief to use as his Contact Photo.

Mangos are orange and "orange" is now "mango"

When all the buzz about the latest update goes away and codename "Mango" becomes Windows Phone 7.5, will the fruity moniker be forgotten?  The developers at Microsoft say no. 

They have left a little tribute in the newest iteration of WP7.  The color scheme once known as "orange" will be called "mango" starting with version 7.5. 

No word yet on what the next major upgrade will be called, but here's to hoping we won't be sporting any "banana" themes in the future.

Source: WindowsPhoneSecrets

More concept designs for WP7

Adrian Manteuffel has created some concept designs that cover multitasking on the platform as well as further customization of Metro UI, which includes altering tile transparency, changing themes (beyond what's currently available) and applying wallpapers to the home screen.

The above concept shows multitasking added in on the right-hand side of the home screen, which is probably not a bad idea (if you don't mind losing more 'negative space' which the UI is famed for), but I don't see it working with a large number of apps open at once - I don't think a scrollable list on the side of the tiles is a good idea.

For the email tile that now takes up two positions, I don't like at all. I'm a heavy email user (compared to SMS anyway) and I prefer to have a minimal amount of tiles present. Unless that email tile can flip through the email accounts every few seconds then I don't see that being adopted by many.

See the other two designs after the break.

Metro UI theme on iPhone

Are you someone who loves Apple products but has envy for Windows Phone 7 owners for the interface they have the privilege in staring at for hours of each day? Or do you already own a WP7 device and wish to expand the deployment?

This has now become reality from just a possibility thanks to wyndwarrior, a theme designer at Titled OS7, this theme for the iOS platform will transform your grid style Apple interface into a live tile enabled, aesthetically pleasing design that is found on WP7.

Before you begin to wander about the quality of the theme, or if functionality such as pinning (and unpinning) tiles to the main screen is missing, then fear not. Basic functions look and work very well, but the best feature? Live tiles are supported with more support on the way such as Facebook pulling live data etc. Although the theme requires you to mess with your device, which some people don't feel comfortable doing, it really is simple to install and get cracking...

Easily change Accent colors on Samsung Windows Phone [Homebrew]

There's been successful attempts at modifying HTC Accent colors aka "themes" on unlocked developer devices, but up until now, Samsung phones were left to watch in envy.

Now Dave Amenta of Send to WP7 (Desktop) fame, has gone ahead and released a simple and effective app for Samsung phones that will allow you to easily modify all of your themes to any color you like. The beauty in it is you don't have to mess with those silly #FF339933 codes, but instead just use a color/shade slider. Easy as cake. But yes, your device needs to be developer-unlocked.

As you can see, we changed our Focus to a nice blue-grey theme and we feel pretty happy about it. Except now we want to go try every other color, so we're gonna go do that now, kthxbai!

Update: The app now works on LG and HTC devices too. See here.

Great work Dave (and thanks for the tip)! Read more on it here. Edit: Love black on white!


Custom accent colors coming for Windows Phone 7 [Homebrew]

Back in June we mentioned about jailbreaking Windows Phone 7 and how that could lead to custom themes (aka "Accents"). Since that time, we have jailbroken our phones via ChevronWP7 and adopted their subsequent first release, custom ringtones.

Now it looks like they are moving on to app #2, those custom Accents. As can be seen above, developer Justin Angel has a custom "black" theme rocking on his device, something that looks like the rest of us will get a shot at soon. While we enjoy our current hue selection, we think a few more wouldn't hurt, right? We know Orange UK (HTC Mozart) has their own carrier theme, so why not us?

Stay tuned...

Source: @ChrisWalshie; image from @justinangel

What "themes" will look like in WP7

One thing we know as of right now with Windows Phone 7 is that customization will be drastically limited. At least until the folks at XDA figure out to root and mess with the OS.

An example of what customizations you can do will be the use of "themes" which is a generous description for changing some font colors and accents. Yeah, basically it's not much. One example is in "Pivot" (below) the other "Panorama" (above) which are two of the formating options for programs by developers.

Still, it's better you know now what you can and can't out of the gate then later. So commence logging your complaints in

[via @justingangel]

Tip of the Week Part I: Turns Those Bars Glossy Black!

We missed last weeks tip (cocaine is helluva drug), but we'll make it up you by dishing out two tips this week: one today, one tomorrow. Deck?

The first for today is really, really easy but yields a very cool look for your device: Glossy Black Bars

See, in WM6/6.1 when you try to use an all black theme (or any other that you want with black bars--those top and bottom things), you get boring old gray or the old WM5 "flat" bars, which is an interesting but dated look.

A simple way around this is to use EazyVG's simple .exe file. You just plop it on your device, choose any theme (.tsk) and then run "Glossy Black Bars.exe" and you'll device will get those shiny bars like in the pic above.

Neat, eh?

Download from the link to XDA (need to register) or just hop to our WM Software section in the forums where it's an attachment.