RIM BlackBerry How To: Download and Install New Themes

Your Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry can be equipped with a plethora of "themes" that reflect how icons and data are presented on your home screen. Here's how to find the right themes for you, then download and install new options.

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Tue, August 12, 2008

CIO — It's not easy to put your finger on the best thing about Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphones, but there's no question that the ability to customize the BlackBerry ranks near the top.

BlackBerry "themes" rearrange the user interface on RIM smartphones to show various icons and information on the main or "home" display; some themes provide a secondary screen that can be customized to include only the most frequently accessed applications and data. Several custom themes are also "themed," so Star Wars fans can, for instance, show off their Trekkie prowess by sporting a U.S.S. Enterprise-inspired theme.

Our past BlackBerry Tips of the Week offered a wide variety of suggestions on how to customize your BlackBerry, including how to set custom ringtones and message alerts and choose the most stylish ways to carry your device. We've also provided multiple lists of free BlackBerry software downloads, to help you find the best applications for your needs. And our memory optimization suggestions, Bluetooth tricks and battery-life tips are sure to help keep your device running as smoothly as possible while you make your BlackBerry your own.

This week, we're giving you the following theme tutorial to take your BlackBerry to the next level of customization.

Types of BlackBerry Themes

The majority of current BlackBerry smartphones--devices running BlackBerry handheld operating system (OS) v4.2--ship with three different types of themes preinstalled: Icon, Today and Zen themes. Individual wireless carriers also often include their own branded themes.

Icon themes are the simplest option and consist of a single home screen that's populated with all of your various applications and services--though you can pick and choose the apps that you want to appear on the home screen and which ones to hide. In any theme, the background image or wallpaper can be swapped out, but custom themes often included wallpaper that's somehow associated with the design of icons. (Using the Star Trek example again, icons may be designed to resemble the Star Fleet Insignia and match the wallpaper image of the U.S.S. Enterprise.) Icon themes typically have the word "icon" in their names.

screenshot of 

BlackBerry Dimension Icon Theme
BlackBerry Dimension Icon Theme

Today themes are similar to Icon themes in that they all features a basic home screen that includes a listing of all the applications and services that users have not chosen to hide. However, Today themes also features a secondary screen that does away with all the icons and displays only specific text-based information on messages, calendars and call logs--though some Today themes may offer slightly different information on secondary screens. Again, Today themes frequently have the word "today" in there titles.

screenshot of 

RIM BlackBerry Today Theme
BlackBerry Today Theme

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