We have already talked about the launch of Andrdoid O (which stands for “Oreo”). With this new version of the mobile Operating System developed by Google, a lot of new features will be available to users.
Some month ago, with the Second Developer Preview of Android O some rumors started indicating that Google could support the Overlay Manager Service (also known as OMS) and the Runtime Resource Overlay (RRO). Now, this is certainly true.
Android O supports OMS and RRO theming, and it also provides a user interface to enable and disable themes; in particular, it provides a command line interface.

RRO was developed by Sony to manage theme functionalities on the Sony Xperias. However, other developers recognized that it could be an extremely useful tool, so they started working to extend it and support other ROMs, and so the extend theming to multiple device, no just the Sony branded smartphones. RRO finally provided an ease of use unseen from other theming options. All this work evolved into Overlay Manager Service, a second technology also developed by Sony.

OMS was later adapted into Substratum, becoming a theming framework really famous amoung most users frequenting specialized forums.

Android O and Themes Framework


As we said in our introduction, since now theming frameworks have been developed mainly by Sony and independent developers, with Google just looking from an external point of view. But now things are changing. The engineers of the Mountain View company now aim to support this theming directly in AOSP: this means that Android will provide a full and system-supported file manager.
In fact, on XDA people noticed that Google made a lot of changes directly in Android Gerrit. In particular, we can see a list of OMS command in the file:

    public void onHelp() {
        final PrintWriter out = getOutPrintWriter();
        out.println("Overlay manager (overlay) commands:");
        out.println("  help");
        out.println("    Print this help text.");
        out.println("  dump [--verbose] [--user USER_ID] [PACKAGE [PACKAGE [...]]]");
        out.println("    Print debugging information about the overlay manager.");
        out.println("  list [--user USER_ID] [PACKAGE [PACKAGE [...]]]");
        out.println("    Print information about target and overlay packages.");
        out.println("    Overlay packages are printed in priority order. With optional");
        out.println("    parameters PACKAGEs, limit output to the specified packages");
        out.println("    but include more information about each package.");
        out.println("  enable [--user USER_ID] PACKAGE");
        out.println("    Enable overlay package PACKAGE.");
        out.println("  disable [--user USER_ID] PACKAGE");
        out.println("    Disable overlay package PACKAGE.");
        out.println("  set-priority [--user USER_ID] PACKAGE PARENT|lowest|highest");
        out.println("    Change the priority of the overlay PACKAGE to be just higher than");
        out.println("    the priority of PACKAGE_PARENT If PARENT is the special keyword");
        out.println("    'lowest', change priority of PACKAGE to the lowest priority.");
        out.println("    If PARENT is the special keyword 'highest', change priority of");
        out.println("    PACKAGE to the highest priority.");

There are also other suggestions all over the Android code, and all of them shows that Google is working on a central framework.

However, right now there is only a technical support, which is almost useless for end users. In effect, those commands require a root access. However, people having root permissions can just enable Substratum and use its themes.

However, in the future, it’s almost sure that Google will provide a system app to manage theming without requiring to root devices, and this will centralize themes management at a system level.

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