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  1.    #1  
    Hi all,

    Here are 15 widgets worth having on your android phone.

    Take care,

    Jay

    '15 great widgets to enhance Android
    By Jason Hiner | August 3, 2010, 3:30am PDT

    15 great widgets to enhance Android | ZDNet

    One of the biggest advantages of Android over iPhone is widgets. Android has them, iPhone does not.

    Widgets are valuable because they can provide an at-a-glance look at lots of different kinds of information and quick access to valuable apps and configuration settings.

    To help you find some of the most useful widgets, I’ve put together my list of the top 15. The best way to way this list is in the screenshot gallery. But, you can also view it in list form below.

    A couple things to keep in mind with widgets: 1.) They can sometimes hog resources, bandwidth, and battery life so you should make sure you’re using a task killer to regularly refresh your open apps; 2.) Widgets can take up a lot of screen real estate and so you may need to use an alternate home screen launcher, such as Launcher Pro, to give yourself some extra space.

    The list
    1. Extended Controls

    Android comes with a “Power Control” widget (bottom) that I’ve always liked because it lets you quickly toggle Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Brightness, and more. However, I recently discovered the “Extended Controls” widget, which allows you to create a customized version of Power Control with a lot more toggle options.

    2. Battery Watcher

    This widget provides a battery percentage visual. Since you can’t add the battery percentage to the notification icon in Android, I always anchor this simple widget on my primary home screen on any Android device. I like that it is the size of an app icon, so it doesn’t take up too much screen real estate.

    3. Picture Dial

    This is a smartphone speed dial app that allows you to set up your most important and most frequently-dialed people or numbers based on photos. You can see the two sizes of the widget, one with two numbers and one with four. You can also stack multiple widgets on the same page. The default configuration is that you select a contact and then assign phone, text, or email to the speed dial button.

    4. Analytics Widget

    If you use Google Analytics to track Web site traffic, this little widget makes it easy to get a get quick glance at your traffic metrics. It takes up the same amount of space as an app icon and you can set up multiple widgets to track multiple metrics.

    5. 3G Watchdog

    As most people are aware, “Unlimited Bandwidth” data plans are not unlimited. Most of them are capped at 5GB. Plus, companies like AT&T are moving away from unlimited plans altogether. That means people are going to need to be more conscious of the bandwidth usage. The 3G Watchdog is a widget that can track it for you. The widget is available in two sizes, as you can see in the screenshot.

    6. System Info

    This widget provides a great little system monitoring function for battery life, over-heating, memory, and storage.

    7. Pure Calendar

    There’s a built-in widget that can provide a quick glance at your calendar but Pure Calendar is far more detailed and customizable.

    8. Pure Messenger

    The cousin of Pure Calendar is Pure Messenger, which can provide a quick glance at your inbox. It can even integrate SMS messages, Twitter DMs, and Facebook mail.

    9. Buzzbox

    Buzzbox offers a no-frills widget for quickly glancing at the news. There are a bunch of pre-configured RSS sources (including some good ones for tech) and you can easily add your own.

    10. SMS Unread Count

    The basic premise here is that this widget replaces your Messaging (SMS) icon with a widget that looks like an icon but includes a little red circle in the upper right corner with the number of unread messages you have (mirroring the iPhone UI). The app can also do this for Gmail and Phone (missed calls).

    11. Last Call

    This widget provides a glance at your last call, which makes it easy to redial or to call back a missed call. You can also click on the widget to go to your full Call Log.

    12. FlightView

    For travelers, the FlightView widget is very handy. Rather than digging through apps or Web pages to get a flight status update, you can enter your airline and flight number into this app and it will track it for you.

    13. Twitter

    As I’ve said before, Twitter is a terrific real-time intelligence engine. Now that there’s an official Twitter Android app, there are also a couple Twitter widgets (large and small) for scanning your Twitter stream.

    14. Scoreboard

    This is a Google widget that lets you keep track of the scores from your favorite sports teams. It shows the last game and the next game (or current game).

    15. Pandora

    Pandora is a custom streaming “radio station” for the Internet age. You simply search by an artist or song and it will create a running playlist based on that one piece of information. This widget makes it easy to control Pandora, including play/pause, thumb up, thumb down, and skip-track buttons.
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  2. #2  
    This is the problem I have with widgets, and the reason I never use them anymore on any of my android devices. They usually show less information, use a far smaller font, and actually save zero time in using them compared to the full app. If I have seven pages of widgets, I can just as easy just open up a dedicated app that usually does far more than the widget. But that's just me.
  3. #3  
    Just the opposite. Widgets are awesome. time saver and perfect size, if they were bigger they wouldnt be widgets. Example is SportsTap. I can open the app but I have it stream my scores as the games are on , I just have to look at the widget and there it is.
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by VaccPalm View Post
    Just the opposite. Widgets are awesome. time saver and perfect size, if they were bigger they wouldnt be widgets. Example is SportsTap. I can open the app but I have it stream my scores as the games are on , I just have to look at the widget and there it is.
    and why not just open the app and get a lot more info than the widget shows?
  5. #5  
    Becasue thats not what I want, I want the score every half hour or so while the game is on . I dont want to get any more info. And when there is no game on it tells me the next game on the schedule.Very cool. Same with other widgets. I have a "To Day" widget. Tells me every thing I have to do on the calendar. I dont want to open the calendar . Every morning it changes to "todays " info. Very helpfull. Got alot of other widgets to do cool stuff like that.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by mobileman View Post
    and why not just open the app and get a lot more info than the widget shows?
    Because most of the time you don't need detailed information. For the rare occasion that you do need detailed information about an item you see on a widget, you just tap the item and full application is opened showing the detailed information.
  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by mobileman View Post
    and why not just open the app and get a lot more info than the widget shows?
    I don't need to open Weatherbug to see what the current temp, forecast high low, and tomorrow's weather will be.

    I don't need to open clock and alarm to see what time it is without squinting at the tiny clock in the status bar when I use beautiful home screen.

    I don't need to open Home --> Settings --> Wireless & networks --> Bluetooth when I can just tap on the Power widget.

    I don't need to open Contacts and scroll through several hundred names (or a couple dozen in Favorites) when I can just tap a picture of my wife on the home screen.

    I don't need to open up the applications launcher and scroll through a few dozen apps if my favorite apps' widgets are already on my home screen.

    Widgets have their place - and can be a real timesaver/productivity enhancer.
  8. bennish's Avatar
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    #8  
    i agree w/mobile man. they just don't work for me... flipping between androids silly 'multiple home screens' is the same as opening an app.

    The ONLY thing i can see them being useful for is as dynamic icons. I have a feed app with a widget that looks like an icon but has number of unread feeds, like iphone notifications, or like the WebOS Weather Icon (interestingly enough, there is NO weather icon style thing on android!!! anyone know of one? or a calendar icon that says the date? it's like being in 1998!)
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  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by bennish View Post
    i agree w/mobile man. they just don't work for me... flipping between androids silly 'multiple home screens' is the same as opening an app.
    You mean just like the Pre's launcher?
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by bennish View Post
    i agree w/mobile man. they just don't work for me... flipping between androids silly 'multiple home screens' is the same as opening an app.

    The ONLY thing i can see them being useful for is as dynamic icons. I have a feed app with a widget that looks like an icon but has number of unread feeds, like iphone notifications, or like the WebOS Weather Icon (interestingly enough, there is NO weather icon style thing on android!!! anyone know of one? or a calendar icon that says the date? it's like being in 1998!)
    I am flabbergasted how people don't like widgets...i said i want widgets on WebOS and everyone said "we basically have them! Just flip between cards"

    But as other people said, you just want a glance at weather or stocks or calender without having to find the icon each time. You don't have to swipe between the screens if you have sense since it has its feature where it zooms all the screens out and you can pick it.

    Anyway, no dynamic icons, but there are widgets that are icon size that can show data like that.
  11. #11  
    I love the idea of widgets, but if you ask me Android hasn't perfected them yet. I'm not sure if its the fault of the developers or the way the operating system manages them, but when I test drove an Evo for a month I could not get the widgets to reliably update, even when the associated applications allowed for a widget update interval. My stocks were routinely hours behind, the news was stale for days, and the weather wouldn't update as reliably as I'd like. The current widget behavior made it no more convenient than just opening the associated application.
  12. #12  
    You probally had the wrong or junk widgets. I have news widgets, sports, weather , web sites etc and they all update to the moment and work beautifully . But there are some thrid party widgets that have some issues.
  13. #13  
    Which ones do you use? I tried the NY Times, BBC, Weatherbug, Weather Channel, Google Finance, HTC's stocks widgets, ESPN, NYMag.com, AP news, ABC news, and various others that I cant remember anymore.

    The only widgets that reliably updated were the NYMag.com and ESPN widgets. They worked really well. The others, not even close.

    Ultimately I just wanted one good news widget, one good weather widget, and one good stock widget. I couldn't find any although I did not purchase any apps (I had a feeling I was returning the phone so I didn't want to invest any money in the platform).
  14. #14  
    The weatherbug and weather channel one works fine for me. I use sports Tap insted of ESPn . Did you make sure that you have the phone to sync weather and news. ( Settings, Sync ) I had a problem with the weather until I fixed that. also make sure that you have Background data checked. and also make sure that you have it set for always on mobile so that it will update in the background.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by mrsyeltzin View Post
    I love the idea of widgets, but if you ask me Android hasn't perfected them yet. I'm not sure if its the fault of the developers or the way the operating system manages them, but when I test drove an Evo for a month I could not get the widgets to reliably update, even when the associated applications allowed for a widget update interval. My stocks were routinely hours behind, the news was stale for days, and the weather wouldn't update as reliably as I'd like. The current widget behavior made it no more convenient than just opening the associated application.
    On my Droid X, there's a selection under Settings --> Data Manager --> Data Delivery --> Background Data that can be used to kill all syncing by any program. Is that checked on your phone? (DOH - I see where VaccPalm made the same suggestion. I'd like to think it's a 'Great Minds' thing, but I don't qualify for that).

    FWIW, My Weatherbug, Beautiful Home, and Jorte widgets all update as scheduled.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by VaccPalm View Post
    The weatherbug and weather channel one works fine for me. I use sports Tap insted of ESPn . Did you make sure that you have the phone to sync weather and news. ( Settings, Sync ) I had a problem with the weather until I fixed that. also make sure that you have Background data checked. and also make sure that you have it set for always on mobile so that it will update in the background.
    It would sync, it just wasn't consistent. I don't remember playing with that setting although I think I remember them from the settings page. My recollection is that they were checked off, but who knows at this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kupe View Post
    On my Droid X, there's a selection under Settings --> Data Manager --> Data Delivery --> Background Data that can be used to kill all syncing by any program. Is that checked on your phone? (DOH - I see where VaccPalm made the same suggestion. I'd like to think it's a 'Great Minds' thing, but I don't qualify for that).

    FWIW, My Weatherbug, Beautiful Home, and Jorte widgets all update as scheduled.
    Thanks for the tips, and it's good to know that the widgets work for most people. I dont have the Evo anymore but if I go back to Android at least I know my widget problems were isolated.

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