Top Android Widgets to Build a Fun and Functional Home Screen
As Android evangelists are aware, customization is the name of the game when it comes to this operating system. And one of the simplest ways to make a phone truly your own is to customize your home screen with a smattering of widgets. While widgets have waned slightly in popularity in recent years, they’re still a quick-and-easy way to access your favourite and most frequently used apps right from your home screen.
Not sure which widgets are worthy of such a coveted slot? We’re cutting through the widget clutter as we round up five useful widgets you should consider to create a fun (and functional) home screen.
As one of the most practical tools on this list, the Slider Widget is an oldie but a goodie. This bite-sized panel packs a lot of controls in one tiny panel — a real must-have for your home screen.
Adjust the most often-used controls without the irritation of loading up your phone’s Settings app. Pump up the volume on calls, sound effects, music, videos and even adjust screen brightness with a single slide of your finger. And despite combining controls for half a dozen functions in one place, the tiny panel doesn’t take up much real estate on your screen.
DigiCal + Calendar & Widgets
Price: Free trial, $5.75 for full app
A truly robust calendar widget is hard to find, which is what makes DigiCal + Calendar & Widgets special.
For those who live and die by their digital datebook, this is a handy solution. The app itself is an organizer’s dream, with daily, weekly, monthly, or agenda views and full Google Calendar integration (hurray for auto syncing!). Get a sense of your upcoming week at a glance, complete with appointment reminders, traffic checks and weather forecasts, all viewable from the calendar.
The sleek and intuitive design also makes it simple (and lightning quick) to copy, edit, delete or move events, and a built-in search feature makes it easy to add a location to each appointment.
The widget version also allows you to leisurely scroll through your upcoming appointments for the day without even unlocking your phone.
And while the free trial allows you to try it before you make the financial commitment, the reality is that you’ll probably be impressed enough by DigiCal’s versatility that you’ll freely cough up the nominal purchase price.
Fellow news junkies and blog fiends, rejoice! The free Feedly widget collects the best stories from around the web and feeds them right to your home screen.
This app quickly rose to prominence once Google Reader bit the dust, and now all your favourite blogs, Tumblrs, YouTube channel subscriptions and news site content can be aggregated and read right on the widget.
I personally use this clean and easy-to-use app daily to stay on top of the latest current events and must-see new posts from my favourite blogs. Just load up the app, search for and add your favourite sites and enjoy a little light reading right from your home screen.
Fellow to-do list junkies can stay organized easily with the Evernote widget gracing your home screen.
This wildly popular note taking app takes widget form — meaning you can add items to your grocery list, take screenshots of notes and take down audio memos without leaving your home screen.
This is a perfect option for those who toggle between multiple checklists, take frequent memos and need to keep it all centralized in an uncluttered workspace on your phone.
HD Widgets consistently tops the list as one of the most popular (and comprehensive) widget packs available for download.
With innumerable options for location-based weather forecasters, customizable clocks, and dozens more, it’s easy to see why many Android users simply lean on HD to fill their home screens.
But the real draw here is HD’s endless personalization options — the makers boast about its complete customization. That means it’s simple to carefully curate a perfectly personalized home screen through changing widget sizes, styles, themes, skins and alternating between a plethora of bright, beautiful colour palettes. With so many customizable choices, no two phones sporting HD widget packs should look exactly the same.
The bottom line
Widgets are a fun way to take a smartphone and turn it into a tool all your own, with personality and real utility. Thanks to some creative developers out there, we have a lot of different options to explore.
What widgets are you using? Let us know in the comments below.