Andromeda, the Substratum Theme Customization Add-on for Android Oreo, is 50% Off Until February 19

Before the folks behind Substratum made headlines with Andromeda, the team released Sungstratum. Sungstratum is similar to Andromeda in that it’s a paid add-on for Substratum that doesn’t require root access. However, it’s different in that it’s the first modularized external OEM-based theming system for Samsung devices running Android Nougat. Now that a number of Samsung phones have been updated to Oreo, though, the team has decided to end support for Sungstratum and slash 50% off the price of Andromeda to encourage folks to make the transition.

Sungstratum’s discontinuation is going to upset a lot of people, understandably, and the developers are well aware of this. But since Andromeda and Sungstratum are running on a completely different theming system, it doesn’t make much sense to continue to support both of them. The projects are complex, and updating Sungstratum with Oreo compatibility could cause code hiccups and potential bugs. Not only that, but it would take time and attention away from Andromeda.

The team says they have big plans for Andromeda and are committed to keeping it updated. That’s good news — we’ve seen Andromeda change the way the Android community themes its devices by allowing customizations that would have previously required flashing a ZIP file.

For those who are coming from Sungstratum, or who are new to Andromeda, you can follow this guide on how to install themes without root. We have also covered a number of Substratum themes that work with Andromeda and allow you to customize it, including a fix for the lock screen swipe gesture issue, a way to restore blob emojis in WhatsApp, and more that you can find here.

Andromeda will be on sale at 50% off ($0.99) for four days straight starting February 15 at 00:00 GMT and ending February 19 at 23:59 GMT.

substratum theme engine (Free, Google Play) →

andromeda ★ substratum stock rootless backend 8.0+ (Unreleased) ($1.99, Google Play) →


Source: +SykoPompos

Substratum 953 adds support for Sony Xperia phones running Nougat, new showcase tabs, and more

The Substratum Theme Engine was updated yesterday to version 953, bringing support for Sony Xperia phones running Nougat and revamping the design for the Theme Showcase among other things. Perhaps the most welcome change for Sony Xperia owners still on Nougat is the ability to apply Substratum themes in “legacy mode.” As a reminder, it was Sony who first developed the Runtime Resource Overlay and later the Overlay Manager Service for Xperia phones and contributed the code to AOSP, which is what makes Substratum work on other phones as well.

The Theme Showcase has gone through some changes to its tabs as they are now listed vertically instead of the overly swipe-tastic horizontal list in previous builds, and the theme labels are in white text in better contrast to the corresponding thumbnail images. The database of themes included in the Showcase and the process of submitting themes to the Showcase have also been changed.

The under-the-hood changes to the Showcase are described as follows by Substratum lead developer nicholaschum:

The showcase now updates on demand, and will no longer cache the database on the device so it’s pretty much a live place for us to promote our wonderful community and what everyone’s been doing!

The reorganized tabs are explained by nicholaschum as follows:

  • Featured Themes: For new themes and upcoming stars!
  • Featured Apps: For amazing apps that our contributors would like shown
  • Themers Collective: The community collection of themes hosted on our Play Store account
  • Team Themes: Themes created by team members!
  • Clear/Dark/Light: Category based themes
  • Google Apps: Collection of theme ready apps
  • Samsung: Collection of Samsung-ready/compatible themes
  • SystemUI Tweaks: Previously called Plugins, but now more categorized
  • Other Tweaks: Also from Plugins, more categorization
  • Wallpapers: Wallpaper packs

You can see screenshots of the new Showcase layout in the gallery below.

Substratum Substratum Substratum Substratum

Aside from the usual performance enhancements and bug fixes there is one caveat: if you try to open a theme based on older Substratum theme templates you’ll get an error message implying that your copy of the theme is not licensed or that you have pirating apps installed on your system. The false positives are apparently triggered in the latest Substratum versions by code in theme templates from early last Fall. Consequently if you get such a message and you don’t have any such piracy apps installed, you’ll need to contact the theme developer and tell them to update to the latest template.

If the Substratum Theme Engine update hasn’t already rolled out to your device it should be available soon in the Play Store. You can read the full changelog in nicholaschum’s Google+ post.

substratum theme engine (Free, Google Play) →

How to Fix the Lock Screen Swipe Gesture Issue on Android 8.1 Oreo

Android 8.1, the first maintenance release of Android’s long-awaited Android Oreo update, has now been released for some time, at least for Google Pixel and Nexus devices. However, some Google Pixel and Nexus owners running Android 8.1 (either the official build or a custom ROM) have noticed that swipe gestures on the lock screen, like accessing quick settings toggles, swiping to unlock, or swiping away notifications have become rather difficult at least when compared to Android 8.0. Some users report that now swipe gestures on the lock screen require nearly an entire screen-wide swipe. We’ve reported on this already, and it seems to affect many users running Android 8.1 software.

A potential cause was unearthed by a few developers: it’s caused by a new “anti-falsing feature” in the SystemUI, which is meant to prevent accidental swipe to unlocks while the device is in your pocket or in your hand. However, this anti-falsing feature may be the cause of the  swipe gesture issues that users have been having, so some developers of custom Android 8.1 Oreo ROMs opted to disable it.

If you are running stock Android 8.1 Oreo on your Google Pixel & Pixel XL, Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P, then this feature is enabled by default on your device. Thanks to native Substratum support being added to Android Oreo, I was able to create an overlay that disables this anti-falsing feature, and it doesn’t require root to install!


How to Fix the Lock Screen Swipe Gesture Issue on Android 8.1 Oreo

If you haven’t yet, you’ll need to set up the Substratum theme engine on your device. If your device is running Android 8.0, Android 7.1 or Android 7.0, then my mod is completely pointless for you, as this issue is exclusive to the latest Android 8.1 release where the anti-falsing feature was added.

substratum theme engine (Free, Google Play) →

andromeda ★ substratum stock rootless backend (Unreleased) ($1.99, Google Play) →

  1. Follow this tutorial in order to properly set up Substratum and Andromeda on your device.
  2. Download my overlay. It’s a simple, lightweight Substratum theme, which sets the anti-falsing boolean value to false in SystemUI.
  3. Open up Substratum, select my theme, and apply the System UI overlay.
  4. If necessary, restart SystemUI in order to see changes. You should be seeing increased sensitivity in swipe gestures on the lock screen.

Select the “Oreo Lock Screen Fix” theme, select the SystemUI overlay and select “Compile and Enable”.

Explanation

With Android 8.1, Google brought into the main branch of AOSP an advance anti-falsing classifier for the lock screen. What this classifier does is making swipe gestures more resistive in order to avoid accidentally unlocking the device, pulling out the pattern/PIN unlock screen, swiping or opening notifications, et cetera. However, the increased resistance has proven to be more of a burden than an improvement, at least for some users, as most gestures require edge-to-edge motions compared to the previous behavior in Android 8.0 and lower.

This advance anti-falsing classifier is defined as a boolean value in the device’s SystemUI, which is set as true in AOSP Android 8.1. What my overlay does is simply setting the boolean value, called config_lockscreenAntiFalsingClassifierEnabled,” to false, restoring the previous Android 8.0 lock screen behavior. Initial testing for this mod has mitigated the issue on Google Pixel and Nexus phones running stock Android 8.1, but since the boolean value is set to true on AOSP, this overlay may also mitigate it on some AOSP-based custom ROMs. This fix was also tested on devices like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 running custom Android 8.1 software.

A handful of custom ROMs, like LineageOS 15.1, already have this boolean value set to false, so you shouldn’t be noticing any problems if the ROM of your choice has merged this change. This mod is primarily meant for solving it on stock ROMs and certain custom ones, so we highly encourage you to try this out and give us feedback in the comments! If it’s not working as you’re expecting it to, or you see any bug related to the overlay, please reach out to me personally on my Twitter profile which I’ve linked to in my author bio, or send me an email.

Special thanks to the /r/AndroidApps community for helping me out with the initial testing!

Tweak the Always On Display, Status Bar, and Nav Bar on the Samsung Galaxy S8 with Substratum

Theming your Android device is one of the primary reasons why people still root their devices, though recently several rootless theme solutions have cropped up. OEMs have started to implement Sony’s RRO implementation, and Google officially incorporated RRO’s successor, called OMS, into the source code for Android Oreo. Samsung’s smartphones have a theme manager powered by RRO that can be hooked into in order to use custom themes, and that is exactly what the Substratum theme engine with its Sungstratum plugin does. A new theme for the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ allows you to tweak the always on display, status bar, and nav bar.

XDA Senior Member tytydraco released a handful of mods for the Samsung Galaxy S8 which require Substratum in order to work. The following tweaks are available

  • Always on Display
    • Hide the battery icon
    • Hide the battery percentage
    • Hide notification  icons
    • Hide the date from the status bar
    • Wake the phone with a double tap anywhere on the lock screen
  • Status Bar
    • Disable the status bar
    • Hide the carrier label
    • Remove status bar clock
    • Remove status bar battery icon
  • Nav Bar
    • Disable the nav bar
    • Better default nav bar colors
    • Half size navigation bar
    • Material design navigation bar

There are other miscellaneous tweaks available, the full list of which can be seen in the official XDA forum thread for this tweak pack. In order to install these tweaks, you’ll need to install the Substratum theme manager and its paid Sungstratum plugin. Then, you can either download each individual tweak from the forum thread linked earlier, or download the mega app from the Play Store which lets you pick and choose which to install.

substratum theme engine (Free, Google Play) →

sungstratum ★ substratum samsung addon ($1.99, Google Play) →

[Substratum] Samsung System Mods (Free, Google Play) →

After installing each of these apps, you can open up Subtratum and apply the tweaks that you want. The list of available tweaks is ever-growing, so be sure to check out the forum thread for any future updates.

Substratum Theme Manager Gets a UI Revamp & Performance Improvements

Substratum, a mainstay in Android system theming since the Marshmallow days, received a major design revamp this week along with some security improvements and a new default theme compiler to improve performance. The new design, first teased last month, has been long-anticipated and has finally arrived.

The improvements to the user interface (UI) are designed to make the app more user-friendly, and include the ability to show your installed themes in a multi-column grid to save some scrolling and the ability to return to the theme list by simply swiping down on whichever theme you currently have open. Below is a screenshot gallery of the new UI in action.

When you open a theme, Substratum colors the action bar and the navigation bar to match the dominant color of the theme’s header image. One caveat applies though: when a transparent/translucent theme is applied, the Substratum app overrides such transparency with that same solid color. Substratum Development Leader nicholaschum assured me that the team is aware of the issue and is currently working on a solution. You can see the dynamic coloring in action in the screenshots below with no theme applied.

On the performance front, the default theme compiler was changed from the AAPT (Android Assets Packaging Tool) from the Marshmallow era to AOPT (Android Overlay Packaging Tool). When I asked nicholaschum about the difference, he said the latter compiler was built from Oreo sources, enabling it to compile more API-level specific resources such as the downloadable fonts API available starting in Android 8.0.

There are, of course, plenty of other changes introduced in Substratum 930, which you can read about in detail in nicholaschum’s Google+ post. There was another interesting statement made in that post: with Samsung beginning to roll out Oreo updates to its latest devices, the Sungstratum plugin will soon no longer be necessary. Users will thus be transferred over to the Andromeda plugin for unrooted devices running Samsung’s stock Oreo ROM.