Application Name: Earth Live Wallpaper
Description: Animated live wallpaper of Earth and other astronomical bodies, real and imagined.
Publisher’s website: Earth Live Wallpaper
Cost: Free version 1 (donationware); newer version 2 offers faster performance for about $2.75.
Version/date reviewed: v.1.3.9 / 10-31-10
Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2
Note: You should download the app first, then the data. Some Android phones may not support live wallpaper.
Earth Live Wallpaper lets you show an animated image of the Earth as a background in your Android home screens. It also offers options to display other solar system objects like the sun, planets, moons, etc., as well as fictional/imaginary astronomical objects (e.g. planets from the Star Wars universe, Star Trek, Futurama, Avatar, etc.). You also have a huge number of options you can set:
- Show the moon rotating around the Earth
- Choose from a variety of background images, and how they’re animated
- Add an animated starfield
- Have the globe spin on its axis, rotate freely; interact with you as you swipe
- And more …
Access the app from the Settings => Wallpaper => Live Wallpaper list, where it’s shown as EarthRot. For real geography, your map choices are:
Realtime Earth + Clouds => Shows the Earth with actual cloud patterns (updated every 3 hours), and day/night shading with city lights
Static Earth => Globe image fully lit with an arbitrary cloud pattern
Earth => Fully lit globe with no clouds
Earth city lights => Globe at night, with artificial lights from human activity.
I prefer the realtime earth, since it shows up-to-date data like the cloud patterns and night/day terminator line. But it will use about 70 kB of data every time it refreshes the cloud data, which changes every 3 hours or so; that’s close to 17 MB of data in a month, which might be an issue if you’re on a limited data plan.
Issues: None. My phone supports live wallpaper; if yours doesn’t, this wallpaper won’t be terribly useful. Live wallpapers also consume a little bit of extra battery power, so if battery life is a critical issue, you might want to think twice.
Final thoughts: Looks cool, and the realtime Earth view offers useful information. Not an essential app, but if you can live with the slight power drain, worth having.