Substratum Andromeda add-on brings rootless theming to Android Oreo

There is now even less reason for Android users to root their device. That is, if their device already runs on Android 8.0 Oreo. As promised and hyped a few weeks ago, the folks behind the Substratum theme engine have come out with a new Andromeda add-on to take advantage of Oreo's newest hidden feature. And while the add-on does cost you more than a dollar, it might well be worth the price considering it lets you nearly completely theme your Oreo phone without rooting it first.

It might not be the most popular smartphone brand, but Sony's contributions to the Android platform is probably going to long outlive its devices. Its Resource Runtime Overlay or RRO eventually evolved into the Overlay Manager Service or OMS in Android Oreo. OMS, in turn, is what Substratum hooks into to give users the freedom to tweak their device's appearance as they see fit.

Substratum developers created the Andromeda add-on, not to be confused with the rumored Android and Chrome OS mashup, for this very purpose. But setting things up isn't as straightforward as using Substratum alone. That said, it is worlds easier than rooting your device for the sole purpose of theming it.

In addition to having both Substratum and Andromeda installed on your device, you also need to download the Andromeda desktop client for your computer, available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. No need to download the ADB tools, as those are packaged already with the client. Simply connect your phone to your computer and run the script or program. This gives Substratum the elevated privileges to change system resources, like icons and themes, all without rooting your phone.

This is really the only setup you need to do for Substratum on unrooted phones. Once done, you can simply install and browse any compatible Substratum theme as normal. Given the unrooted nature of the implementation, however, there are limits to what you can change. But as far as colors, icons, and even emojis are concerned, Andromeda has you covered. One other catch is that if you ever reboot your phone, you'll need to give Substratum elevated privileges again, so you have to repeat the process. However, your installed themes and settings are left intact.

While Substratum itself comes free of charge, the developers are requiring a one-time $2.49 purchase for Andromeda. Given the hard work put into making Android users' lives easier, that's a fair enough trade. It does require Android 8.0 Oreo to work, but it doesn't matter whether your device is running on an official update or an unofficial port.

Download: Substratum, Andromeda, Desktop Client