If you have read even a few of my opinions on Android, then you probably know that I don’t generally like any kind of manufacturer UI on Android devices. Instead, the preferred option in terms of looks is a near stock build of Android like CyanogenMod or AOKP, which is based off of and very similar to the stock Android Open Source Project build of Android. However, that doesn’t mean that themes are always a bad thing; the only time that themes and other modifications to Android are a problem is when they are implemented by the carrier or manufacturer, and the user has no say and cannot remove them. When installed and chosen by the user, though, themes can often be pretty cool. In fact, although I have used stock Android ever since the Droid 1, just yesterday I found a theme for CyanogenMod that may just change that.
The theme, called Flow, comes from developer giannisgx89 and works with most builds of AOKP or CyanogenMod 9. According to the developer, the graphics and colors have been chosen to compliment the stock Android experience, while being optimized for the Super AMOLED display on devices such as the Galaxy Nexus. Regardless of whether that is true or not, the theme does look quite good, and includes just the right number of customization to avoid being overstated. Obviously, many of the stock icons are changed to new, slightly more TouchWiz like icons, but the developer has also changed the notification bar, settings menu, volume menu, camera app, and even the onscreen navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen on the Galaxy Nexus.
In my use of the theme on my Galaxy Nexus, I found only one bug, which you can see above. It appears that the proper files are not in place for the notification bar in landscape mode, thus causing it to look a bit odd. Otherwise, though, the theme performed flawlessly. While the icons are just alright, I really like the modified navigation buttons, and especially the button glow that replaces the stock blue, which you can see in the gallery below. In addition, the new dialer and people apps are very clean and look quite good, and the camera app looks cleaner and less flat than before. Another great addition is the notification bar icons, which are a clean white instead of the stock ICS blue. While I’m not opposed to “theme colors,” I much prefer the neutral white to the stock notification icons.
To put it simply, in my opinion the Flow theme changes all the right things in Android, without becoming too overstated or making things look ugly. I wouldn’t mind slightly less cartoonish icons, but otherwise the Flow tweaks change just enough to make Android a little bit more beautiful than before. Flow is actually the first theme that I have purchased for Android, and will probably the first theme that I use long term. Other themes have always had some problem that kept me from using them, but as long as the notification bar issue is sorted out, I think I could end up using Flow for quite a while.
If you want to try out the Flow theme, it can be purchased from the Android Market/Google Play Store for about $1.50, but will only work on ROMs with theme managers such as CyanogenMod 9 and the AOKP ROM. For more screenshots of the theme in action, just check out the gallery below.
Download: Google Play