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Author Topic: Android widget micro reviews  (Read 5450 times)
phitsc
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« on: March 22, 2011, 11:20:59 AM »

Introduction

Last December I switched from a Windows Mobile to an Android phone. This opened up the exciting and vast world of apps and widgets to me. In the past three months I've looked at many apps and widgets, tried some, read about others, tried to find the best ones fitting my needs.

Here I present a selection of widgets which I find most useful describing them with a few words only. All of the widgets presented here are either free or very cheap.

If you're using widgets other than the ones I present here that cover the same or similar functionality or if you'd like to have more information on any of these widgets please let me know.

I've also posted some Android app micro reviews.

Data counter widget
by Roy Solberg
Free / 3$

This is a simple widget that lets you keep track of your network data usage. The widget shows distinct numbers for Wifi, 3G and Tethering. Tapping the widget will open a full-screen view showing the detailed statistics: in, out and total per month, week, day or since installation. The widget offers a useful set of configuration options like if it should display daily, weekly or monthly data usage, update rate, colour options, a custom start date for counting and more. Especially the custom start date I find very useful as it allows quite precise tracking of data usage to make sure I keep within my monthly quota (my data usage always runs from the 7th of a month).

The free widget doesn't contain any ads. There's a pro version that offers some more colour options but mainly serves the purpose of supporting the developer.


Snowstorm weather widget
by Kaj Bjurman
Free

Of all the weather widgets I've tried or read about I liked this one most. It comes in different widget sizes. There are plenty of forecast icon skins to choose from. Its weather data comes from the Swedish Weather Service and seems to be quite accurate at least for Europe. Tapping the widget opens a full screen pop-up window with detailed forecast data for the next 5 days. It has plenty of configuration options like update rate, units and formats to use, colour options and more.

I have three minor complaints about the widget:
  • Being able to localise the forecast terms would be cool
  • While it's possible to call up the forecast for any specified location, it is somewhat obscure (open full screen forecast, open Credits Menu, switch to Search Tab)
  • While there is an option called 'Snap to larger places', it seems like I'd need one that snaps to even larger places Wink


Multicon widget
by H9kDroid
Free

Multicon allows you to put several smaller app links in the place of one big one. I'm using it to have direct access to 8 of my most frequently used apps on the same space that 2 app links would cover. Although the icons are now only a fourth of their usual size, they still look very good and the links are still quite easy to hit.


Apps organizer
by Fabio Collini
Free

While Android has the concept of folders that can be placed on the screen it seems like it's not possible to choose a nice icon for them. Apps organizer solves this problem nicely. Within Apps organizer, you first define labels and assign them an icon. You then assign one or more of these labels to your apps. Finally, when you put an Apps organizer widget on your screen, you define the label it represents. What you'll get is a nice icon which, once pressed, will open a perfectly sized pop-up window with the apps that have the respective label.


Android Agenda Widget
by Everybody all the time
Free / 2$

This is a highly configurable calendar widget that comes in many different sizes. Among the many aspects that can be configured are colours, transparency, text of labels, visibility and behaviour of buttons, date and time settings, etc.. It is also fully localised. Android Agenda widget is actually very powerful and would easily warrant its own mini-review.

The whitish area you see on the right of the widget are two soft-buttons. While I think they too are configurable on my phone the upper one opens a full-screen pop-up calendar list with the upcoming appointments of the next two weeks. The lower one opens a pop-up window with some useful commands, the most important one for me being the one right at the bottom which opens the Calendar app.

The free widget doesn't contain any ads. There's a plus version that offers no additional features (but I think is usually released a bit earlier than the free one) but serves the purpose of supporting the developer.


HTC Photoframe
by HTC
Free but HTC phones only

Of all the photo frame widgets I've tried I liked the HTC one best. It can't do slide-shows and you also can't slide the photos manually which is a pity. But the resize quality is very good and tapping the widget will open the photo viewer app.

(the two widgets on the left of the screen shot are two individual photo frame widgets)


HTC Contacts widget
by HTC
Free but HTC phones only

None of the contacts widgets I've tried I liked better then the HTC one. It shows all the contacts marked as favourite. If it contains more contacts than fit the screen you can slide up and down. While tapping the contact pictures dials the contact's main number, tapping its name opens the contact giving you the possibility to call any other number, or send a text message or email. It has a big button at the bottom to open the address book. The only thing I don't like about it is the fact that it only uses low-res contact pictures (don't worry, they are a bit more high-res than one could assume from looking at my screen shot Wink )

(the contacts widget is the one on the right of the screen shot)
« Last Edit: March 23, 2011, 04:19:18 PM by phitsc » Logged

Rover
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2011, 11:31:39 AM »

 Thmbsup  Nice review.
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Ath
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2011, 01:15:16 PM »

Very nice, we should have this kind of review more often, IMHO Kiss
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2011, 06:26:19 PM »

Interesting, thanks phitsc
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Chris
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