Should Windows Phone 7 incorporate themes?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: July 23, 2011

All of the mobile operating systems can’t have the same features, or the same draw that attracts customers. After all, if they were all the same then there wouldn’t be any reason to have one over the other. But, there’s also a fine line between what features some phones need, and what they are lacking. For example, Android’s customization may be too much for some people to really enjoy; while Apple’s lack of customization to their standard OS may not be enough at all. And then there’s Windows Phone 7, which allows for some customization, in the sense that you can move Live Tiles and Hubs around, as well as change their color, but that may not be enough for some folks.

For anyone who customizes their computer, changing things up is as simple as adding or removing a theme. It’s a simple process, and for anyone who uses a Windows-based machine, a theme is a pretty common thing to find and utilize. It’s simple enough for the computer market; I think it’s something that the mobile market could take advantage of. To be more specific, I think Windows Phone could take themes to a whole new level.

It’s possible to change the colors of the Live Tiles and Hubs on Windows Phone, but that’s it. You’re able to move them around as you see fit, and while some tiles are larger than others, the customization options aren’t all that vast. But, having accessible themes could make that lack of customization not such a big deal. Having options to change your phone and to make it not so much like anyone else’s you may find is something that some customers look forward to. After all, making your phone personal is what it’s all about.

To start, while there are obviously plenty of theme options out there, I think this is something that Microsoft could roll out as an in-house project. There are plenty of properties from Microsoft that they could turn into themes for Windows Phone, much in the same way they have for the Windows PC platform. Specifically, game titles like Gears of War or Halo, or even Alan Wake. There could be Xbox LIVE themes, or Arcade titles, or even region-based themes.

While having more detailed customization options may make Windows Phone more appealing to some customers, I think something like adding themes could be a good middle-ground until Microsoft outlines some more customizing options down the road. . . If they outline any customization options at all down the road. Themes are a great way to show your love for a sports team, a game, or just about anything at all, as long as the theme options exist. And the way that Windows Phone is laid out, themes seem like a perfect fit.

What do you think of themes being issued for Windows Phone? Do you think the platform could benefit from them? Or do you like the options that are currently in place? Let me know in the comments below what you think.