There’s something nice about Android that our friends over in iOS just laid their hands on with iOS 7 and they can’t stop making noise about it: live wallpapers. We’ve had those on Android for like forever and we continue to love them. And today we have some new no-ordinary wallpaper. The one Google bundled with the software on the Google edition of the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.
Well, you all know that Google was to release Nexus-experience versions of the two best Android smartphones at the moment: the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. The Google Play Editions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One just went on sale on the Play Store less than 48 hours ago. And Android being Android, they’ve already been stripped off of all their notable goodies: the new camera app and the new Phase Beam live wallpaper (called Sun Beam).
Before attempting to sideload those apps on your Android device make sure you enable installation of apps from “Unknown sources”. Find the option to enable this in your settings if you haven’t enabled it yet. This may vary from device to device but in your settings app you should find it.
Here’s how to get Sun Beam thanks to the ever reliable developer community on XDA:
- Download the Sun Beam apk here
- Transfer the downloaded apk file to your Android device through Bluetooth, USB or whichever means you normally use. If you downloaded it on your device directly then the better
- Go to the location where you have transferred the downloaded apk to and select it to install. Accept installation and you’re good to go!
For those of us who own Galaxy devices, Photosphere is one feature that our cameras lack. We have to make do with the panorama mode and a few third party apps that simply do not match up to the original Photosphere feel and experience. Well, thanks to the same good folks at XDA, someone who already grabbed a Google Play Edition of either of the two leading Android smartphones of 2013 was generous enough to strip down the camera app and share it with us. Here’s a quick way of getting it:
- Download the camera app here
- Follow steps 2 and 3 as stated above in the Phase Beam installation and you should be ready to start taking 360 degree snaps.
- I tested Phase Beam live wallpaper on the Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-I9500) and it worked just fine (as you can see on the screenshot above). It is also reported to work on a host of other devices like the HTC One, the HTC One X, the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy S II. I cannot guarantee that it will work on your device though. I am not sure if this will work on devices running older versions of Android like Gingerbread since it has only been confirmed to work on devices running Ice Cream Sandwich and jelly Bean only so far.
- I am aware the camera app of the same devices has also been stripped off and is available for installation on other devices as well as I have indicated above. While this may work and that camera interface is awesome, I recommend the older version of the stock Android camera app, like the one found on the Nexus 4. Apart from the UI refresh in what we have today, every other thing is the same (photosphere!). Since I already have the other stock Android camera app, I did not see the need of replacing it simply because the buttons had been re-arranged in what the camera interface off the Google Edition devices. I will be telling you how you can get it (Nexus 4 stock android camera app) on your Galaxy S4 in a few. However for those with other devices, just try out what was stripped off today as shown above. I can’t guarantee that this will work on every device. it should be limited to devices running Android 4.1.2 and up.
- The camera app will not replace your current camera app. Instead it will install itself next to it and you should have two cameras (as I have been having already – see screenshot below). As a result of this you will also have two gallery applications. On devices like the Galaxy S4, the camera app that it ships with is far too awesome to be taken down for the featureless stock Android camera app (besides Photosphere there isn’t much more).
Some users are reporting on the XDA forum threads that they still can’t get either Sun Beam or the camera app to work. In the case of Phase Beam try moving the app to system/app and then clicking to install it from there. Use a root file manager like Root Explorer or Root File Browser. You can still use other file managing apps like Solid Explorer, Astro or ES if your device is unrooted. Remember the issue of root access only arises if the installation as described above does not work and you need to dig a little deeper into your system files. Be sure you know what you are doing.
If you are on a custom ROM like CM 10.1 or on any other ROM (including stock) and the app can’t install (you are getting the Application not installed message) then deleting gallery2.apk from /system/app should do you some justice.
Let me know if it works for you.
Note: This post was due a few days back but due to technical hitches it could not be published on time. I have been having exams for the last few days and as such there was no time to fix anything. Sorry for the delay.