The Top 5 Must-Have Android Widgets

Now that I’ve had a few months to really dig into Android and find various apps and widgets, it’s high time I share my discoveries with everyone else. These are the top 5 widgets that I’ve found to really make things useful on my Nexus One, and are in no particular order.

1. Beautiful Widgets – if you don’t have HTC’s Sense UI on your phone, you miss out on that beautiful clock widget with the built-in weather and such. Fortunately, Beautiful Widgets is available, and for only a few dollars. However, even if you have Sense UI, I’d still recommend checking out Beautiful Widgets. The developer has added a smaller time/weather widget that only takes up 1/4th of your screen instead of 1/2 – leaving room for more widgets. There is also a built-in skin browser, so you can easily change the look of the clock or the icons that the weather part shows. There are a bunch of other configuration settings, as well, making this quite the customizable little widget.

Beautiful Widgets

2. Extended Controls – Android v2.x comes with a quite simple Settings widget that lets you easily toggle various settings (Bluetooth, WiFi, etc). Unfortunately, it’s rather limited, and there are no options to customize it. Extended Controls is thankfully available for a few dollars on the market and lets you build multiple custom power control widgets with various toggles. The application currently allows you to choose from over 15 different settings, and you can also determine the order in which they appear on your screen. Extended Controls also lets you alter the appearance, including the background, level of transparency, and the color of the indicator on the widget.

Extended Controls

3. Android Agenda Widget – The built-in Calendar widget in Android is completely useless, frankly, and I immediately set to finding a better one that would show more information. Android Agenda Widget is available for free on the Market and does just that. As with the previously mentioned widgets, this one is highly configurable, though thankfully there are a few preset themes you can choose from. Users can change all of the colors and various graphical elements, making the widget perfectly match the rest of the your homescreen. You can also choose which calendars are shown and, as with other widgets, Android Agenda supports multiple widgets, so you could have one for each calendar, if you wanted.

Android Agenda

4. Quick Status – Given that Android is built by Google, I had assumed we would see intense integration of Gtalk in the OS. While the chat feature is built in, there are oddly no options to update your status without going through multiple steps. Gtalk Updater is a simple widget to address this – it only takes up a single slot on your homescreen, and lets you quickly set your status message. Highly recommended if you’re a heavy Gtalk user.

Quick Status

5. ToDo List Widget – Yet another simple widget, ToDo List Widget simply allows you to add items to your ToDo list and then mark them as ‘done’ when you complete them. There are several sizes to choose from, and it supports multiple instances, so you can keep up with separate lists. It should be noted that ToDo List Widget doesn’t connect with any online services such as Remember The Milk or anything – it’s just a simple widget, which is why I like it.

ToDo List Widget

Of course there are hundreds of other widgets available on the Android Market – which ones have you found? Did I miss any must-haves?

Published by rcadden

Just a dude with a phone.

3 thoughts on “The Top 5 Must-Have Android Widgets

  1. I like Battery Left widget, Pure Messenger Widget and the Process Manager widget is very useful too!
    I didn’t know this ToDo List widget, thank you! šŸ™‚

  2. Ok…it is official…I’ve crossed over…lol. I finally gotts mai Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant) and I am loving this do-stuff-on-your-phone thing! About a month ago I was almost opposed to this (having had a stupid and prac useless smartphone running W6) the upgrade has made me BOLD, DARING and do I say it? More inclined to be untethered from my netbook. ( I haven’t used it in about a week. But again, I type this on my laptop…lol. Maybe my next post I’ll send from my phone)

    Ok so I am App Happy…I have a wee over 216 apps installed on my phone and thats not including the ones on the very generous 7 home pages the Galaxy S has standard. Of your must have apps I have four (I will be adding that to do list widget…that is sweet!) I will list my five must have apps that really make me App Happy (and App Happy is trademarked so no stealin my line!)

    SUPER SECURITY
    This is like AVG for your phone! It will scan every app you download and let you know if it is safe. A plus with this sweet app is that it will tell you exactly what app has access to what and list it in a category from low to high risk. And the best part is IT’S FREE! (WEEEEEEEEE) This app also allows you to lock files on your phone by putting them in a strong box, comes with a task manager and app manager…even more…it will tell you what apps are eating your memory so you can kill them…I LOVE THIS ONE…5 STARS!

    ZIMLY and ROCK PLAYER
    Ok…so these had to be listed as one because both are awesome at what they do. My phone came with a crappy video viewer and dumb music player. ZIMLY will play both audio and video but the UI is what won me. It came with a player widget that is great when you want to listen to your tunes in the car so all you have to do is touch your home screen and you have music. The video player portion is a little less to be desired and that’s where ROCKPLAYER comes in. This app will play AVI’s and most video formats stored on SD card in your phone. While the 3GP playback was horrible (and this was most likely due to the way I converted them) this app played all my AVI/Mpeg files. ROCKPLAYER isn’t free and will run ads and has its logo on the upper left screen but none of that bothered me. ZIMLY is free and I do recommend both.

    EVERNOTE
    While there are many, many, MANY apps designed for note taking in the Android market EVERNOTE has crossed all platforms. Designed for pc, laptop and phone it will sync will all your devises as you jot, write, note and think. And it will organize so you can find your notes quickly. AND IT IS FREE.

    QUICK UNINSTALLER
    Is just that. Add this app and it will list all apps quickly. Just tap on the one you want to remove and then uninstall! Too easy and FREE.

    TV.COM
    With the advent of FLO TV having shows on the go has become an American staple. I personally refuse to pay for something that was initially free to begin with…hence TV.COM. This is a free tv app and no you won’t be able to watch what you want but the list is very generous…CBS,CW, SHOWTIME, CNET-for us geeks-lol). If you need that daily TV high this is the app for you.

    Honorable mentions: 3, Sense Analog Clock, Tippy Tipper, TransZilla, Scanner Radio, My Days (for the ladies) and Abduction.

    I do see myself being slowly weened from my netbook…help…I’ve crossed over!

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