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