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Orange Android phones squeeze in gestures and live wallpaper

Orange is adding yet more peachy perks to its Android phones, including a gesture app that lets you call, text or launch an app with a swipe of your finger.

Flora Graham
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Orange will be dousing its upcoming Android phones in a carrot-coloured cornucopia of widgets, an innovative gesture app and a range of live wallpapers. These will join the Orange apps and widgets we've already seen on phones such as the Orange San Francisco, such as Orange Maps and Orange Wednesdays.

The gesture app lets you summon the tiny demons that control your phone with a swipe of your fingers. Everything from calling your favourite person to launching an app can be assigned to one of 27 swipey shapes. Drawing a circle on the screen, for example, opens the Web browser -- but you can change this to anything you like.

You can draw your gesture anywhere on the seven Android home screens, over anything else on the screen. We had an early look at the feature, and we can definitely see how invoking our merest wish could get addictive. We don't think we'll remember more than three or four gestures, but that should still be enough to cover our more frequent tasks.

Orange's effort to tempt us to its phones also includes a live wallpaper, which shows the coppery glow of three burning candles. As the voice of Barry White and the smell of bubblebath fills your imagination, you can see the wicks flicker as you swipe between screens. But this is not just an attempt to seduce you with the hypnotising quivering of a flame. The height of the candles vary with your phone's battery life, so they seem to burn down as your battery is depleted.

Orange says it's got more live wallpapers in the works, so stay tuned for the lava lamp that shows how many Facebook pokes you've got, and a shimmering pond that reflects your missed calls.

If you're not a fan of Orange's tangerine dream, you can switch off the gesture app any time, chuck the wallpaper in favour of your own photo, or turn off Orange's alterations altogether and stick with the default Android design.

The Orangification of Android will continue on all new Android phones on the network except HTC phones, starting in the spring. Click the gallery above to see more from the flame-coloured future.

If you have an Orange phone, or you're thinking of getting one, tell us what you think of its ochreous add-ons in the comments.

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You can assign almost anything to a gesture, from making a call to opening an app.
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In our hands-on test, drawing gestures was easy on any home screen, and we didn't have to be that accurate for it to work. Lefties and righties are welcome, since gestures can be drawn in both directions.
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Orange is more than just a name, it's also an inescapable graphic identity, right down to the Halloween candles on the live wallpaper.
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The candles burn down as your battery dies, so they could come in handy for getting a quick glance at your charge needs, without unlocking your phone.
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Orange phones also come with a range of custom Android widgets, all the default widgets, and access to more in the Android Market.

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