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
One of the best Twitter clients on the Android Market, this gorgeous app also features a handy widget available in two versions. The one shown in the screenshot is the smaller one, and simply allows you to open the app at different points, either at the main screen or add tweet screen. The second, larger widget is far better. It’s top half is the same as above, but the bottom shows recent tweets with the ability to scroll between them with arrows on either side. The widget looks really nice, is extremely handy and far better than the widget for the official app. It even offers a choice of colour schemes to suit your home screen.
This excellent music service, also available on iOS and webOS, streams music straight to your device. The widget for Android helpfully shows a scrollable list of songs from a selected playlist and allows you to run through different tracks with the press on the forward and rewind buttons. There is also a play and pause button, and the widget displays artwork quickly and attractively. It’s not all good, however, as the widget has a knack of playing songs when you don’t want it to when you come out of the main app. This can be annoying, not to mention embarrassing if all you wanted to do was fiddle with your playlists and your music comes blaring out on the bus.
Advanced Task Killer
One of the criticisms of Android is that is can be quite hard to see exactly which apps and services are running at any one time. Cue apps such as Advanced Task Killer that let you set things up to kill certain apps at certain times to keep your device running as smoothly as possible. The widget essentially allows you to manually perform a task kill of all the apps you have previously selected. Nothing will load up, aside from a notifier telling you how many apps have been killed and how much free memory you have. Does this have a noticeable effect? Sometimes it does, but it can also feel as if nothing is achieved, and its all to easy to become addicted to pressing the button whenever its on screen. Recommended, but only really useful if you are having real problems with your device slowing down.