Say what you want about Cyanogen, Inc. but they are working hard to make their Android skin that they call Cyanogen OS even better with a new and improved themes app, and Themes Studio for an easy way for designers to upload their themes to the new themes store.
Themes By Cyanogen
On their blog, Cyanogen announced a handful of cool things on Monday, starting with Themes by Cyanogen. Themes by Cyanogen will replace the current Themes Showcase app that comes with Cyanogen OS like on the OnePlus One, and hopefully the UI will also be migrated to the version of the app that lives in the Play Store. Since this new app doesn’t redirect to the Play Store for purchases, it just downloads and installs the themes directly, it’s likely that Google would boot it if they tried to distribute it on Google Play, so don’t be expecting exactly this to be available to install on your CM ROM. Frankly, the old Themes Showcase app has a terrible UI, though, so anything different will be a welcome improvement. Below, Cyanogen promos the new app in a quick video:
Themes Studio is basically a developer console that Cyanogen has built to allow developers to easily distribute their free themes to Cyanogen OS users. I went ahead and signed up for a an Cyanogen Account just so I could see what it was all about and it’s just a very simple developer console. In order to activate your developer account you have to agree that Cyanogen will distribute your work for free on your behalf, so it seems like all of the themes will be free, at least for the time-being. To upload a theme, all you need to do is drag and drop your APK to the screen (or click to browse) and then they display a handful of statistics about the downloads and usage of your themes.
As far as I can tell, Themes Studio and Themes by Cyanogen working together should make the process much easier for the end user to install the themes and apply them, but it means that the developers will have to upload their themes to yet another repository for users to get to them, with little reward since they are all going to be free and there’s no means of advertising within a theme short of corporate sponsorship in the boot animation. (AT&T, hop to it!)
In order to bolster adoption for their Themes Studio, Cyanogen is also holding a contest for the best theme, which will be selected by a panel of Cyanogen team members. Of course, you have to use Themes Studio so the theme will appear in their new store, but don’t forget to fill out the contest form as well! There will be three winners, each of which will receive a free device and a bunch of Cyanogen swag. The first 10 developers to submit a theme automatically get a free t-shirt, so make sure you do it as soon as possible! The contest ends on December 14th and winners will be announced on the 18th. For official contest rules and conditions, check out their contest page. Good luck to all of the themers and good luck to Cyanogen with their new project!