One of Android’s most powerful features is the ability to use widgets. I’m often asked what a widget is and my explanation is often something along the lines of, “it’s a way of accessing an application or feature quickly and easily.” Most Android devices have a number of widgets installed on one or more of the home screens when you first activate it and many applications have widgets that you can add to a home screen.
I have traditionally preferred a clean look and feel to my Android device so at most only use one or two widgets. I only use one home screen on my HTC One V and this is populated with two widgets: the HTC Sense clock and Widgetsoid.
Widgetsoid is a highly configurable widget that I use to quickly toggle various functions on my device and application shortcuts. At its simplest, it’s quicker to use than going into Settings and flicking a radio toggle across, or going into the application tray and finding something to launch, whilst being neater than having a home screen full of shortcuts. That one widget has ten functions on my One V, including toggles for internet connectivity, screen orientation and brightness. There are shortcuts to a couple of my favorite applications and finally, a shortcut to Google Search.
Widgetsoid developer Jimmy Aumard recently released a new version, which has made it easier to set up and configure, plus added more features, including the ability to spread you choice of toggles across two lines. You can add widgets of different shapes and sizes to your home screens and the app also makes it easy to change the widget theme: I prefer a transparent background with the icon itself illuminated if active, but it’s possible to have a status bar (of your own preferred color and size) lit up if a feature is active or not. You can add the time, date and device status information, too.
The new version of Widgetsoid also includes the powerful feature of including toggles in the drop-down notification screen, which some (but not all) manufacturers include as standard. Using drop down toggles makes for an even cleaner look than having toggles showing on the home screen and of course these can be accessed anywhere.
Widgetsoid does need a little work to configure it to how you want it to work, but is available free and supported by adverts, or you can opt for the donate version (costing just 82p in the UK), which includes a few new features such as the ability to backup and restore saved widget designs.