Live Wallpapers - Fun on the Android home screen.

Super Mario AndroidImage by barron via Flickr
One of most enjoyable parts of jailbreaking the iPhone was having the ability to customize the home screen, and there was a great app (Bosspaper) that helped manage the changing backgrounds. Upon getting the Droid X, I was immediately exposed to an even greater world of customization, and a big part of this was in the form of Live Wallpapers. I'll dive into a few of my favorites, and discuss the price at which this prime customization comes.

Strictly for show
One of my first moves as a new Droid X owner was to make sure that the scary red eye was not the wallpaper of choice on my phone. I know that some like it (I don't mind it as much in blue), but I wanted something a bit less creepy. I tried a few of the other built-in options, and downloaded a few more.  Thus far, my top 5 include:

  • Mario Live - definitely the best eye candy, I'm not sure I've kept this on my screen for longer than an hour due to the power drainage
  • Aquarium - brings me back to classic screen savers (Starry Night included), overall pleasing to the eye
  • Water - the Zen like masterpiece that invites your interaction via touch for the calming effects
  • City at Night - I actually don't have this one, but I've heard good things from the forums...
  • Grass/Beautiful Live Weather - what occupies my screen everyday, more on this below.

Possibly for function
Although most of the live wallpapers out there are more for show, I've found a few that actually do something more. The built in live maps wallpaper is cool in that the screen automatically tracks your movements and relocates as needed. I didn't experience a pressing need for this, but it was a nice concept. My current wallpaper of choice is Beautiful Live Weather (BLW). With the purchase of Beautiful Home Widgets, I was able to download and implement BLW, and I love how it takes the already solid built-in "Grass" wallpaper and adds sun, clouds, and rain to mimic the current weather conditions.

Customizing at a price
All of the above comes at a certain price. Yes, live wallpapers take up memory and battery life. This is simply a matter of fact. I have noticed that some take up less memory, while others (Mario is a great example) will eat up battery like no one's business.  There is a minimal amount of lag, depending on the wallpaper, but I've been quite impressed with how sparingly I have to reset my phone given how many things are going on simultaneously (I'm currently not using a task killer). I have to believe that the future will only get better. With Android 2.2 coming soon, and improvements in the development of live wallpapers, this visually stimulating but resource demanding feature will soon become standard fare.

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