Can’t settle for just one image on your smartphone and need an entire collection to surprise you at all times? Muzei should fill that gap, and you might even learn something at the time.
Mobile owners of all sorts are given quite a few wallpapers to start with when they get their phone, and while some of us replace these with pictures of our loved ones, others totally leave them the same.
Finding a wallpaper is often easy, and you merely need to take a wander onto the world wide web and download something, or find a photo of yours to stick on that home screen.
Android owners get a bit of a different type of wallpaper choice than their iOS and Windows Phone friends, too, because Android phones and tablets have supported a technology called “live wallpaper” for some time.
Different from the motion-sensitive parallax wallpapers you’ve probably seen on the iPhone, a live wallpaper is essentially an animated or semi-interactive wallpaper, acting just like a widget or mini-application, but for wallpapers and background images instead.
These can be made to do all sorts of things, from animated flows of code from The Matrix to live animations of the weather around you, but one has really grabbed us in recent months and it’s not about animation, but rather simple utility.
“Muzei” is the app in question, and this one essentially provides a blurry image of a random piece of artwork on home screen, allowing you to double tap the screen to bring that image out of the blur and into the sharp details of light, giving you an idea as to what it is before the image returns to its blurry state, which tends to look nicer and less cluttered on your home screen.
In a way, the blurry image is a little like recalling something from your memory, from way at the back of your head, with the double tap bringing it to the surface so you can go “ohhhhh, that’s what it is”.
If you still can’t place the image, head into the Muzei app to find out what it is, with a touch on the title opening up a link to the image, taking you to a webpage about it, allowing you to learn a little something about a work you might or might not have seen before.
There are a few little additions to the app that help make it nearly perfect, such as how you can tweak the softness to your own liking, with controls for blur, dimming, and the amount of colour you want in the picture (grey).
You’ll find different sources available to you, as well, such as your own images.
This means you can take your own family photos (those of you who already do this, and even those who do not), select a few or the entire album, and let the Muzei live wallpaper randomly jump between these images, changing the time it does this from between an hour, every three hours, every six hours, every day, or every three days.
When you select images, make sure to hold down one first if you’re selecting multiples, because otherwise you’ll be pressing them one at a time, loading them in so slowly you’ll wonder why this is worth doing.
Ultimately, what you get out of it is a wallpaper that is like a memory recalled, allowing you to relive the moments from your life and the images that made you happy like a soft blurry dream, bringing them into focus for a split second when you double tap the screen, before the return to the blur which looks better on a home screen.
And if artistic works and your own images don’t cut it for you, there is an entire web out there of sources designed to work with Muzei, allowing you to change your wallpaper on a regular basis and see the world simply by taking your phone out of your pocket.
A quick search for “Muzei” on Google turns up quite a few of these extra sources, each of which hooks right into the Muzei app and affords you the opportunity to see these worlds of photos — from Instagram to NASA to National Geographic to plenty of others — with the same blurry views as the artistic works Muzei typically shows.
It’s probably close to impossible to run out of images to look at here, with sources from all over the place providing plenty of imagery to keep your home screen from ever looking stale.
Muzei is available now for Android phones and tablets for free.