This week, we’ve been flooded with a bunch of leaks about the Google Pixel 4, but most of those leaks have been related to its hardware. We just learned about its 8X zoom capability, 6GB RAM, and 90Hz display, but we’re also starting to learn more about its software. Back during the Android Q beta days, we spotted a hidden app called “Pixel Themes” that hinted at customizing the font, icon shape, and accent color on Google Pixel smartphones. Later on, we started seeing a suggestion in the Settings app that told users to “customize [their] Pixel.” Tapping on that suggestion merely opened the existing Google Wallpapers app without any added customization options. Now, we have obtained screenshots of the Theme Picker app for Android 10, which will likely be called “Pixel Themes” on Google Pixel smartphones.
XDA Recognized Contributor MSF Jarvis informed us that a new app called “ThemePicker” was uploaded to AOSP with the release of the Android 10 source code. Once installed, the app appears as “Styles & wallpapers” in the app drawer or in the Pixel Launcher’s long-press context menu. The strings for the app tell us that this app will allow the user to customize the lock screen/ambient display clock face, the Pixel Launcher grid size, the lock screen and home screen wallpaper, and the “style” (which includes the accent color, icon shape, and font.) You’ll also be able to mix and match from the available options to create your own style, which you can even name. Our prior analysis of Android 10 revealed that the clock faces include an analog clock and a bubble stretch clock (the type/text clock face was sadly removed during development.) Lastly, I spotted code for customizing the icon pack, though I’m not 100% certain if that’s distinct from customizing the icon shape.
After a few hours of tinkering, we were only partially able to get the ThemePicker app up and running. Fortunately for us, XDA Recognized Developer luca020400 spotted a commit with a link to a (likely not intentionally) public Google Photos album that reveals the UI of Android 10’s theme manager app. The image to the left (below) shows the “Wallpapers” context menu item in the Pixel Launcher replaced with “Styles & wallpapers,” while the image to the right (below) shows the most up-to-date UI of the app that we can find. Using our analysis of the Pixel Themes app from Android Q beta 2, we believe that the 3 non-default pre-installed themes will apply the following changes to the Android 10 UI:
- Crayon: Purple accent color, Arbutus font, Circular/Teardrop icons
- Collage: Green accent color, Arvo and Lato font, Filled icons
- Ash: Black accent color, Rubik font, Rounded/Squircle icons
We previously extracted the wallpapers shown in this preview so anyone can download them here.
Older commits also contained links to previews of the ThemePicker app, but these screenshots still show the “Anthony,” “Johanna,” and “Reiko” code-names that we previously spotted. (We now know that “Anthony” is the “Ash” theme, “Johanna” is the “Collage” theme,” and “Crayon” is the “Reiko” theme.) These images do show the preview screens for customizing the accent color, font, and wallpaper, though, so we felt they were worth including here.
Although the images shared in the commits don’t show off the Pixel Launcher grid customization or the lock screen/ambient display clock customization, XDA Recognized Developer luca020400 managed to partially activate both features, though he could only get it working on top of AOSP/LineageOS 17 Android 10 and not the Pixel software. He sent us the screenshot to the left (below) which reveals that you’ll have the option to pick between a 3×3, 4×4, or 5×5 home screen layout. The screenshot he sent on the right (below) shows off the clock types, though he manually added the type/text clock back in since Google removed it from AOSP.
Under-the-hood, this feature uses the existing overlays found in the current Android 10 release. The ThemePicker app uses OverlayManagerService APIs, integrated into Android since 8.0 Oreo, to modify the resources of apps without actually modifying the apps. These overlays can be manually toggled through Developer Options or by adb, but Google is working to expose controls for them via a user-facing app. The Pixel Themes app will likely debut alongside the Google Pixel 4 next month, and I think the UI will look really close to what we’re seeing in the open-source version. We’ll let you know if we learn more about Android 10 UI customization or the Google Pixel 4.
Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.
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