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(Update: Available now) You will soon be able to theme Oreo without rooting your device
Update, September 13: The ability to theme unrooted Android 8.0 Oreo devices has now arrived under the guise of Andromeda, a paid app in the Play Store and its desktop companion. Folks over at XDA-Developers have an in-depth guide on how to use Andromeda to customize the appearance of your device. Check it out and get Substratum (free) and the new Andromeda extension pack ($2.5) from the Play Store below.
Original post, August 24: One of the reasons folks prefer Android over iOS is the flexibility the former offers. From the launcher you use to how your icons look, Android offers multiple levels of customization that go even further with theme engines from the likes of Sony, OnePlus, and Samsung. However, that customization will get taken to a new level as themes will soon work for any device that runs Android 8.0 Oreo without the need to root.
To provide some context, Substratum is a theming engine that allows devices that are rooted, run custom ROMs, or are certain Samsung Galaxy phones to, well, run themes. However, folks over at XDA and other developers announced they will do away with those requirements, since they managed to get themes working for any Android 8.0 Oreo device.
This was achieved thanks to Google’s integration of Sony’s Runtime Resource Overlay (RRO) theme engine into Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It just so happens that Substratum is based on the Overlay Manager Service (OMS), which was RRO in its previous life, and after a few commands, the folks behind Substratum discovered that they could use Substratum themes without rooting or using a custom ROM.
There are a few things to consider, the first being that you have to connect your device to your computer and run a desktop application. From there, you can go to the Play Store and download the Substratum app to install any of its themes. Furthermore, you will have to run the desktop app every time you shut your phone off and turn it back on – a soft reboot does not carry the same requirement.
Finally, you will need to go into the Substratum app to manually uninstall any theme you no longer want.
Even with such caveats, however, this is an exciting development for those looking to add a bit more oomph to their Android customization. According to Substratum’s development team, an app for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P will soon be released that will allow owners to download and apply Substratum themes, so long as the aforementioned devices run Android 8.0 Oreo.