I read your earlier note about changing the Nokia ringtones, borrowed from Yuan’s Nokia Smartphone Hacks, and thought it was pretty informative. Thanks. Now, my question: can I customize the wallpaper on my Nokia cellphone?
[This is another topic that is answered quite well in the book Nokia Smartphone Hacks by Michael Yuan, and so, with the permission of the publisher, I'm reproducing Hack #46: Customizing the Idle Screen. --DT]
The idle screen (a.k.a. the home screen) is the “face” of your Nokia mobile phone. It is one of the defining features of the phone’s exterior style, especially for the very popular “candy bar” phones. You see this screen every time you pick up your phone. It is definitely worth spending some time to customize the idle screen to your taste.
The customizable visual elements on the idle screen include the wallpaper, the operator logo, and the font. I’ll discuss all of them in this hack.
Set an Image as Wallpaper
Wallpaper is the background image displayed on the idle screen. On most Series 60 devices, the wallpaper occupies only the central part of the screen. On most Series 40 devices, the wallpaper fills the entire screen (see Figure 8-12).
You can set any image in your phone’s Gallery as wallpaper. On most new Nokia phones, you can simply open the image in the Gallery and select the “Set as wallpaper” item from the Options menu (see Figure 8-13). If you have an older Series 60 phone (e.g., a Nokia 3650), you should go to Settings and customize the wallpaper for the standby mode (see Figure 8-14). On a Series 40 device, you can also use the Settings → Display Settings → Wallpaper menu item to set your wallpaper. The phone automatically resizes or crops the image as needed to fit the wallpaper area on the screen.
When you set new wallpaper, the old wallpaper is discarded without warning. If you want to revert to the old wallpaper, you need to keep a copy of it in the Gallery. I recommend that you create a “wallpaper” folder in your Gallery so that you can switch back and forth between wallpapers whenever you want.
The Extended Profiles Pro program from Psiloc [Hack #31] supports associating wallpapers with profiles on Series 60 devices. This way, when you change the profile, you change not only how the phone sounds but also how it looks. When you use Extended Profiles Pro together with the miniGPS program [Hack #44], you can switch wallpapers based on your current location.
Create Free Wallpaper
Many commercial web sites, including most wireless operators’ portal sites, sell downloadable mobile phone wallpaper for $1 to $3 apiece. But truth be told, it is very easy to create professional-looking wallpaper yourself, for free. The basic idea is to first select an image you like, resize or crop it to fit the phone screen, and then convert it to a supported image format before transferring it to the phone.
If you own a digital camera, you probably have many everyday or vacation pictures you can use as phone wallpaper. And if you’ve got a camera phone, you probably have plenty of wallpaper candidates sitting right in your Gallery. But if you are not the photographer type, plenty of free images are available on the Internet. A good place to start is Google’s image search, at http://images.google.com/. I discuss more tips on capturing fancy images later in this section.
As I mentioned before, when you set an arbitrary image as wallpaper, the phone automatically resizes or crops it. But it is much better if you process the image yourself, since this saves memory space and bandwidth. It also eliminates the uncertainty associated with the results of the phone’s image processing.
To turn an arbitrary image into a piece of wallpaper, you need an image editor program. I recommend GIMP (http://www.gimp.org/), which runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X computers. You can also use the Paint program that comes with every Windows PC—but the resizing quality of Paint is poor. You should resize or crop the image to 172 x 143 pixels for Nokia Series 60 phones and to 128 x 128 for Nokia Series 40 phones. Nokia devices support .bmp, .jpg, .gif, and .png image formats. If your image is in a different format, you should save it to one of the supported formats.
Since the wallpaper overlaps with the information displayed on the phone screen, I recommend that you use images that are light in color as wallpapers. If you have a piece of wallpaper with large areas of dark colors, you probably want to reduce the contrast and increase the brightness to make it look “washed out.”
Figuring out and remembering the exact wallpaper image size for your specific phone is kind of a hassle. But with the Nokia PC Suite, you do not have to do that! The Image Converter program in the Nokia PC Suite helps you convert any image to a size and format suitable for the wallpaper on your phone (see Figures 8-15 and 8-16).
Capture a movie scene.
A very popular type of mobile phone wallpaper is a movie snapshot. You can capture scenes in a movie by playing the movie (or the trailer) on your PC and then capturing the screen. On a Windows PC, use the Print Screen key to capture the entire screen into the clipboard. Then, in an image editor program (GIMP is recommended, but Paint works too), you can paste the captured screen, crop the movie scene, resize it, and then save it to a supported format. On a Mac, you can use the Shift-Command-4 key (the Command key is the one with the Apple logo on it) to capture a rectangular area of the screen into a PDF file (or PNG file in Mac OS X 10.4) and then use an image editor program to convert it to a size and format suitable for mobile phones.
Some movie players disable the system screen capture key. VLC (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/) is a free DVD and VCD player that supports screen capture.
Capture an image with a camera phone.
If you have a camera phone, you can make some great wallpaper using your own images. This is a great use of your phone camera, and it adds a personal touch to your phone. For instance, you can use your loved one’s pictures as more up-to-date substitutes for wallet pictures. When you are at a movie theater, you can take a picture of your favorite movie poster that is not yet available for downloading on the Internet. When you see a great magazine or newspaper photo depicting a current event or the most recent fashion, you can quickly snap it with your phone camera.
When I see a great image on the Internet or a good DVD movie scene, I often take a picture directly from the PC screen with my phone’s camera. It is much quicker than downloading or capturing the image on the PC, manipulating it, and then copying it to the phone.
All in all, wallpapers are simple and effective ways of customizing your phone. If you have a camera phone, you have no excuse not to decorate it with personal pictures!
Change the Operator Logo
The operator logo is the word appearing at the top of the idle screen. On Series 60 phones, you can change the operator logo to your own logo using the freeware FExplorer tool [Hack #20]. On Series 40 devices, you can change the operator logo with a custom theme [Hack #49]. In this section, I’ll discuss how to change the operator logo for a Series 60 phone.
The first step is to create an image of your own logo. The image must be 97 x 25 pixels in size. You can use any image editor to create it and then save it in one of the image formats supported by the phone.
After the logo image is copied to the phone, highlight it in the FExplorer file-system browser. Then use the Options → File → Set as operator logo menu to set it as the operator logo. The phone reboots and the new logo appears (see Figure 8-17).
To eliminate the custom operator logo, use FExplorer to navigate to the C:\system\Apps\phone\oplogo directory and delete the file in it.
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