1. Download the #1 Android News App:   EarlyBird - News for Android
    Dismiss Notice

What's the point of widgets?

Last Updated:

  1. Liam548

    Liam548 Well-Known Member

    Don't really understand. For instance ive downloaded flashlight and the app icon does the same as widget icon.

  2. colnago

    colnago Well-Known Member

    It depends on the widget. Things that sit on a home screen, and just "turn things off and on" are "toggle switches". Apps which sit on a screen and actively update themselves, such as a stock ticker, or weather, are "widgets".
  3. slipmagt

    slipmagt Well-Known Member

    Quick access.
  4. ne0lyfeism

    ne0lyfeism Well-Known Member

    For me, widgets are all about utility. On my RAZR, I have a mix of toggles and widgets. For example, one one home screen I have quick access to my planner via a calendar widget. On another, one widget with a combination of local weather and current time. On another, a contacts widget giving me quick access to folks I speak most often with. Have a task widget that keeps me on top of things I need to get gone, a world clock (have to do a little international business/calling friends across the pond).

    The list goes on. What I promise you though is once you find apps that fit your daily routine, you'll want to get the corresponding widgets for even quicker access on your phone without launching the app itself - namely because when you tap a widget, it launches the full app!
  5. Jocelyn84

    Jocelyn84 Well-Known Member

    I would probably go INSANE if there weren't widgets! Using Tapatalk for 8 different forums without the widget or even Tapatalk for that matter, omg I would definitely go insane and that's not even including music widgets lol
  6. drexappeal

    drexappeal Well-Known Member

    Really depends on an individual's needs. Personally, there are some widgets that I use on the phone that are a "must have" in my daily functions.

    Calendar, Bookmarks, Timeline (e.g. Friendstream or Social Networking integration) are widgets that I've absolutely needed since my HTC days. I now use Android Pro Widgets (Purchased app), so that I can have these widgets no matter which phone I end up with in the future. These are scrollable widgets, which allow me to see things at a quick glance without ever having to open an app.

    Widgetsoid - The absolute BEST toggle app on the market. The developer does it all on his own, but it allowed for certain toggles that weren't native to android across the board. Before I had the Note 2, I had the Photon 4g and it didn't have the Notification toggles in the notification bar, so I used Widgetsoid for that alone. On top of that, I have made custom toggle widgets that I have strategically placed on the homescreens whenever I need to access them. Using a Launcher (NOVA, in my current situation), I can re-size those widgets so that the clickable toggles are large, but also transparent, so I can still visually see my wallpaper. In addition, you can customize the color to fit the theme of your phone.

    PowerAMP - IMO, still the absolute best music player on the market. In fact, just found out recently that it allows the volume rocker to change the volume output, when playing music via USB, whereas many other players have 2 volumes (mute or loudest). The widget for PowerAMP can be made fully transparent, so that I can still see my wallpaper in the background and also be able to interact with the player (from the homescreen) without ever having to go directly into the app.

    Those are just some ideas of what I use them for. I'm sure others will chime in on what makes widgets so useful. I'll try and get some screenshots, but not sure I'll have time to do that right now.
    MrMLK likes this.
  7. Dieben

    Dieben Well-Known Member

    I second the recommendation on Widgetsoid. In addition to its toggles it can display a variety of parameters, launch applications, and if you want, can always be available on the Notification bar.

    "ssFlicker" is an unusual application launcher that you can pop up anytime, can also launch from a list of recent apps, and can display widgets while it is popped up. When I pop up ssFlicker in addition to app icons and recent app icons it shows my scrollable Business Calendar widget, my Sticky Notes ToDo list widget, my data enable/disable widget, my data usage widgets, and other widgets. ssFlicker can be difficult to understand at first, but as the developer says "Please try it!"
    MrMLK likes this.
  8. MrMLK

    MrMLK Member

    I tried this one on your recommendation, and I have to agree, its great. It is missing one basic "toggle". You can see free ram and free (internal) SD storage, but there isn't a toggle for external SD storage. Oh well, maybe he will add it.

    Still worth having.
  9. drexappeal

    drexappeal Well-Known Member

    Just email the developer. Even though it's him, on his own, he's VERY responsive. I had a long email conversation with him, prior to his releasing the newer version of it and he asked me to be one of the beta testers, so that I could help report any bugs.
  10. ScandaLeX

    ScandaLeX Wasn't Me

    Am I the only one around here who doesn't see the point in widgets.
    What am I missing? :confused:
  11. MrMLK

    MrMLK Member

    I did yesterday night. Haven't heard back yet, but its only been 14 hours.
  12. drexappeal

    drexappeal Well-Known Member

    I didn't say he'd respond right away...LOL. He's a 1 man show, so give it time, but eventually he will respond.
  13. drexappeal

    drexappeal Well-Known Member

    Really depends on what you use your phone for the most, which is always why I preface it by what an individual's needs are (since everybody has different needs and priorities). If you list most of your top priority activities using your phone, I can probably break down what widgets will make things easier for you, and/or if you happen to be a person that doesn't necessarily need widgets. And what are your preferences with these qualifiers:

    - Homescreen look over productivity? Vice versa? Or a balance of both?
    - Quick access customized to your needs over familiarity? Or vice versa?

    See, my theory is that widgets aren't necessarily "needed," but a lot of times people don't use them, just because they don't know how to or don't really want to take the added time to learn which ones would work for them the best. That's the beauty of these forums, as well as other similar ones. We can all continue to learn something knew through whichever android phone we all have. I don't think there's a single day, that I'm participating in these forums, that I don't learn something new.
  14. MrMLK

    MrMLK Member

    I'm not worried. Like I said, its only been 14 hours.
  15. ScandaLeX

    ScandaLeX Wasn't Me

    I agree regarding learning something new. Forums are a wealth of information. You did say something interesting though. Sticking to what's familiar may be what hinders me from understanding the concept of widgets. How is the use of a widget any different than opening the actual app?
  16. drexappeal

    drexappeal Well-Known Member

    That's actually a very valid and understandable question. I just wish the answer was that "simple." I can answer that in terms of how I personally find widgets useful and then you can judge if that would be of any importance to you.

    For me, I like to be able to have as many homescreens as a launcher allows me to have (which is part of the reason I prefer 3rd party launchers over any stock launcher). That said, there are certain widgets offered for different apps that allow you to interact with the app, without ever having to actually open the app...and still be able to move around to the other homescreens to perform other tasks (e.g. multi-tasking, prior to the Note 2, or any phone prior, having the completely awesome multi-window/multi-tasking capabilities).

    One example is the Music Player PowerAmp (and this holds true for many other music payers as well). I have a dedicated homescreen for PowerAmp with the biggest possible widget available. When I get into my car, the first thing I do is scroll to the homescreen that has the PowerAmp widget, connect my phone to the bluetooth/3.5mm adapter I bought from ebay (Remember asking me what this would be used for: Wireless Bluetooth Audio Music Receiver 3 5mm Dongle for Cell Phone MP3 MP4 PC | eBay), then press play on the widget (without entering the app). Then, I scroll through the dock (using NOVA) and open a couple of the Car apps I use for known speed traps and other car related functions.

    For Non-car related activities, I use both Soundhound and Shazam quite frequently. If there's a song that I don't know, I use both the Soundhound and Shazam widgets to listen to that song and give me the info on the artist and song title. For Video Players, I have yet to find a video player widget that'll play the video on the homescreen, while never having to leave the homescreen and still being able to continue on with whatever else you'd need to do (but that might all change with the capabilities of the Note 2 and the Optimus G and their quad-core processors).

    A business activity I frequently do, and this is especially useful with the Note 2 and the S-Pen, is use an "Agenda" widget that's basically a calendar with all of the calendar events listed for the day. I personally use Android Pro Widgets because it offers a similar scrolling widget that was available on Launcher Pro Plus. Not only are these widgets customizable by color (I prefer fully transparent), but they're scrollable too (and with the S-Pen, you can use the hover function to scoll up and down on those widgets. I use an Agenda view for my Calendar Widget, then also have a Social Networking (e.g. Timetable) widget that shows all the most recent tweets and Facebook comments, and I also have a scrollable Bookmark widget (quick access to all my bookmarks without ever having to open up a browser first.

    So, again, I emphasize the fact that it all depends on people's most frequent activities. For me, those widgets alone, keep my life efficient, while also being able to multi-task...and never having to really open a single app.

    Now that I've gone through that full explanation, the last thing I'm looking for is a scrollable widget that'll allow me to see the forums I post on (at least, be able to interact with just the widget without ever having to open the app)! That would be amazing! If there's anything that I'd hope Tapatalk would do, it would be creating a separate scrollable widget app that shows all of your participated threads and/or all of the forum threads a person participates in (not just a quick launch to Tapatalk, which is what their widgets currently offer).
    Davdi, tonetwo, RalfyJ and 2 others like this.
  17. RalfyJ

    RalfyJ Active Member

    Coming from an ex iPhone user I love widgets. They serve their purpose. I havent really

    got in depth with all their capabilities but they're awesome lol. I also would like to thank

    you guys for talking about the power amp music player. ITS A BEAST
  18. dylane

    dylane Well-Known Member

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding the question, but I have trouble understanding what's not to get? The widgets I've used are aimed at giving you up to date information without requiring any active action from the user. For instance on my phone (not an Android) I currently have 3 desktop screens, a work focused screen, a more general screen, and a screen with shortcuts for my most used applications. On the work screen I have a calendar widget, an email widget, 3 clocks for different time zones, and a news feed that is linked to news alerts about our clients. On the general screen I have a 7 day weather forecast, a stock tracker, and the music player controls. Except for the stock tracker, all of these update automatically with no input from me (the stock tracker could update real-time, but that would take a lot of battery).

    So my question is, what's the alternative if you don't use widgets to get that information easily without opening a bunch of apps separately? I know WP has the live tiles, which seems to serve the same purpose, I think RIM has widgets, I don't know what iOS has, but assume they must have something that can serve the same function?
  19. drexappeal

    drexappeal Well-Known Member

    ios doesn't have widgets. Just app drawer and folder organization. Although, I believe iphone can be jailbroken to use Android type functions.
  20. schimm

    schimm Well-Known Member

    Apps take time to find and execute. If you have an iPhone you've got a sea of apps and many apps don't fall why in clear cut folder categories. Further, why find the sportacular app, execute it, find out if you team is scheduled to play by navigating through the app and the score of that game if it is in progress...why do all that when that info is always sitting there on page two of your screens (for example). And you get up to date scores of your favorite teams to boot! And thats just one example. I don't understand why anyone would question the utility of widgets.
  21. XstitchCowgirl

    XstitchCowgirl Well-Known Member

    How many widgets can one have active without slowing down the phone?
  22. PetiePal

    PetiePal Well-Known Member

    Basically it's EASY access to the program. Flashlight is a bad example.

    For instance one of my favorites is the Beautiful Weather Widgets. In those it lets me put my own clock (customizable and skinnable) and weather widget (think HTC's clock offering) that live updates and gives me a quick look at weather, temps, clock and date/time.

    I don't use a ton but I do use the following:

    1. Battery meter, shows you the exact % of battery, and estimating of either time left or when your phone will approx be dead

    2. Soundhound/Shazam. Sometimes you don't have the time to open the apps etc and you want to "catch that song!" With the widget I can easily listen and tag the song.

    3. Facebook widget. On Android it's annoying that you basically have to open the app and let the newsfeed refresh before you can post a status, check in or upload a picture. The widget lets you do it immediately and bypass the newsfeed refresh which takes forever.
  23. keyan333

    keyan333 Well-Known Member

    Can't believe I came across this thread. How can you not see the point of widgets?!?

    I have lots of them. First up is the 'HD Widgets'. I have a really lovely clock / weather / date widget that takes up a lot of the first page.

    Also there's a battery meter graph, BBC news widget, my email inbox widget, another news widget called appygeek, a favorite contacts widget, music player, cpu/free memory one, one s-note full page widget for a quick things to do list and one more in the status bar for a few more toggles.

    I highly recommend nova launcher, since I can use landscape mode on the homescreen, and it just makes the layout of the homescreen so much better + gives so much customization, for example it lets you make use of the large screen by letting you choose the grid on the home screen - I have mine 7x5 and it makes all the difference, and every app / widget becomes resealable.
  24. Dieben

    Dieben Well-Known Member

    With ssFlinger you can anytime instantly pop up a screenful of widgets on top of whatever app you're using without having to go to a home screen. Then dismiss ssFlinger and continue using your app. Or launch a different app from ssFlinger.

    ssFlinger can be difficult to learn.
  25. ScandaLeX

    ScandaLeX Wasn't Me

    DrEx gave me a really nice breakdown regarding the use of widgets. I had never seen the point to them when the app itself is just a click away. So I decided to brave the unknown and try them out. The newness has me feeling like a widget junkie. :D

    On the Note 2 I think you can go plum crazy with them and (not professionally speaking) I think it would take a lottttttttttttt before even putting a dent in speed. Right now I have 8 screens and widgets on all of them.


Share This Page