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Android’s New Material Design Wallpapers Visualize Data About Your Phone

Wallpapers for your smartphone or tablet might help personalize your device, but they’re also functionally a little bit useless. On OLED-displays like the ones most Android smartphones have, where pixels only turn on if they aren’t black, they can also take up valuable battery life. So if you’re going to have a wallpaper, wouldn’t you rather it actually do something?

One of Google’s latest Android experiments is looking to make wallpaper serve a purpose. They’ve basically created a dynamic set of geometric wallpapers for Android devices that actually visualize key information about your device, like battery life, signal strength, and notifications.

It’s called Meter. You install it just like any other wallpaper on your Android smartphone, with one key difference: Meter asks for permissions to access some of your device’s self-monitoring abilities. It then cycles through three wallpapers, each of which visualizes a different stat. The battery wallpaper is a circle, which shrinks as your charge goes down, the triangle demonstrates your Wi-Fi strength, and the gradient bars visualize how many app notifications you have. Each visualization is also animated using ambient data from your device’s accelerometer data, causing the shapes to twist and transform as you tilt your smartphone.

Meter was designed by Mikkel Kosser, and coded by Joanas Jogejan and Kyle Philips. For right now, it’s a separate download, although I wonder if eventually we’ll see this come default as part of a future update to Android. Android N, Code Name: Nutella, perhaps? You can grab it here.JB