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Liven up Windows Phone 8.1 with Live Lock Screen

The app, now available as a beta, lets you customize your lock screen with background images that can change throughout the day.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Windows Phone 8.1 users tired of looking at the same lock screen can freshen it up courtesy of the new Live Lock Screen app.

Popping up as a beta in the Windows Phone Store, the Live Lock Screen app from Microsoft lets you to personalize your lock screen with different images and designs that change the way you see the time, date, and notifications.

The Live Lock Screen is one of several features touted by Microsoft to drum up interest in Windows Phone 8.1. Facing a mobile market dominated by Apple's iOS and Google's Android, Microsoft is under pressure to generate consumer demand for its latest smartphone OS. The company has been gearing up Windows Phone 8.1 as one way to try to attract more customers and carve out a greater mobile market share beyond its current 3.5 percent.

The Live Lock Screen offers several ways to revamp the screen, as described by Microsoft. You can change the display of the date and time from among six different layouts. You can also choose from a variety of different wallpapers for your background image.

Further, you can cycle through different images on a regular basis. You can select multiple images from your phone's Photo Hub or set the option to point to Microsoft's own Bing image gallery. You can then set your wallpaper image to change every hour, every 4 hours, or every 12 hours.

Those of you who download the app should remember that it's still in beta mode, so you may bump into some bugs here and there. Comments from some early reviewers on the app's Windows Phone Store page are so far mixed. Some are praising the app for its features, but others are dinging it for being slow and buggy. Microsoft is certainly waiting to see how users react to the beta edition and then will likely address any reported bugs and other issues in the next version.