Saturday, November 4, 2017

Razer Phone uses Sony’s Overlay Manager Service Theme Engine

Earlier this week, Razer Inc.—a company best known for its computer hardware products marketed at gamers—stepped into the world of mobile smartphones with the Razer Phone. It’s packed full of hardware that is enticing to Android smartphone enthusiasts such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC with 8GBs of RAM and a 4,000mAh battery, but its 5.7″ 1440p IGZO LCD screen with a variable frame rate up to 120Hz is its defining hardware feature, though. To top it all off, the phone runs a near stock build of Android 7.1 Nougat with a few Razer specific additions such as Game Booster and a theme store.

The theme store included on the Razer Phone can customize system elements such as notification settings and quick settings but can also customize apps like the dialer, calculator, clock, and other pre-loaded apps like Nova Launcher. For instance, one of the themes in the Razer theme store turns the aforementioned apps and System UI elements into a brown color to commemorate Razer’s April Fools joke last year—Project Breadwinner.

Razer Phone

How does it do it? We’ve now learned that the theme engine powering the Razer Phone is based on Sony’s open source Overlay Manager Service (OMS)—the same theme engine behind the popular Substratum theme engine and the theme engine baked in Android 8.0 Oreo. The software team behind the Razer Phone cherry-picked the commits necessary to get OMS up and running on Android Nougat, so theoretically any Substratum theme built for OMS ROMs should work with the Razer Phone.

There’s just one problem, unfortunately. Currently only themes that are signed by the system can be applied, so users looking to theme their new Razer Phone using existing Substratum themes will be out of luck. Themers looking to make themes for the phone will have to wait as currently the theme store isn’t open to third-party themes. Maybe the stock themes included will be enough for most of you, but the enthusiasts who frequent our forums are rarely satisfied with what is offered by default.

Recommended Reading: Why App Updates Sometimes Break Substratum Themes

In defense of Razer, third party themes can be buggy especially when apps update—causing a mismatch between the theme overlay and the app’s newer resources. The phone hasn’t even reached the hands of consumers yet so we could see Razer open up their theme store to third-party themes in the future.


What do you think of the Razer Phone? Let us know in the comments below!

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