Every weekend, we will be taking a look at a few Android Widgets, which for some are the star of Google’s mobile operating system.
They are certainly one of the big differentiating factors between Android and some of the other big players out there, but they are also not infallible. Like other mobile apps, they still need to be well made and intelligently designed, so we will take several each week and let you know whether they are worth your time and money.
Below you can see a screenshot of this weeks widgets running on a Dell Streak with Android 2.2.
3G Watchdog is an extremely handy app that keeps an eye on your data usage. In these days of capped data plans and reduced allowances, not to mention those wonderful ‘unlimited’ internet promises, this is a great idea for Android users. The app allows you to set a monthly limit for your data, and will inform you if you are threatening to go over that limit. The widget is probably the most handy part, as it allows you to see how much data you have used at a glance, both in term of actual data and as a percentage of your defined quota, and even features a nice little bar underneath. The app also comes with a notification widget to make sure you always know how much data you have used.
Tiny Flashlight + LED
This app and widget show a really cool feature of Android that is either not available on other platforms or requires patching to achieve outside of the main camera app. The ability to use the camera flash as a flashlight might be a huge battery drainer, but it can become useful when you need a quick light in the dark. The app allows you to choose from an attractive variety of widgets, all of which change to a glowing version of themselves when pressed, and the LED flash on the device comes on instantly, and really adds a nice new feature to the phone. The only slight grumble I have is that, as the LED is usually on the back of the device, you could activate it accidently and drain your battery. A notification after 5 minutes of use to remind you to switch is off would be a handy addition.
Retro Clock Widget
A standard date and clock widget, this is at least free, but is crippled by a lack of options and features. Apps like Beautiful Widgets allow you to change almost every aspect of the design of the widget, but here all you are getting is an unchangeable clock and date widget, themed in a retro style that act as shortcuts to the time and calendar apps. The sad part is that other widget packs offer similar themes for free, but with more options. Admittedly attractive, if you are looking for this exact theming for a date and clock, then take this app into consideration, but otherwise, there are far more expansive and content laden options available in the market that you should check out first.
Note: Sorry that this is the first Android feature in a few weeks, but we have had to send both Android devices we use for reviews back for repair. One has now been returned to us, so we have this feature and the Reverstris review today to try to make amends!