Cyanogen, the commercial arm of the massively popular community Android software Cyanogenmod, is at it again. This time, they’ve cooked up an active lock screen module that can do things like display animations and pull pictures from social media. A demo was shown at 2015’s Big Android BBQ that demonstrated various features of the new lock screen, expected to make its debut in a near future iteration of Cyanogen-kissed CM13, a custom variant of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The first demo shown was a simple art parallax. A cityscape, drawn from vectored rectangles, was shown on screen. It bounced up and down, revealing and hiding more of its contents, as the screen was partially swiped. A full swipe cleared away the city scene to show the device’s home screen. The second demo showed an effect not unlike the stock Android live wallpaper that depicts leaves falling into a body of water, complete with ripples. Instead of leaves, however, delightful animated sea creatures frolicked about, interacting with the user’s touches and the resulting ripples in the water. The soothing ripple effect and the sea critters clear away in response to a full swipe, giving the user access to the home screen. A third demo showed a delightfully bright-colored party popper, the pull-apart kind. The popper stretched and danced in response to touch. On a full swipe, the popper ruptured, treating the user to a shower of confetti before using their device. The fourth and most intriguing demo was a test of a system in development to show social media information on the lock screen. In the demo, photos of the Big Android BBQ during which the announcement took place were pulled from Instagram and shown until the device was unlocked.
Live lock screens are nothing new for users of some ROMs, such as Xiaomi’s MIUI skin. You could also drop widgets onto your lock screen in prior Android versions, with the capability being removed and requiring help from an outside app in Android 5.0 Lollipop onward. The exciting thing here isn’t the concept of a live lock screen, rather the development behind it. Cyanogen, one of the biggest names in Android development, is devoting resources to spicing up and increasing the usefulness of lock screens everywhere and only time will tell where that development will take us.