Netflix Gets Widget via Update

Netflix Gets Widget via Update

Dec 2, 2015

The Netflix App for Android is getting better usability by way of an update rolling out now.

The soon-to-come call feature is still being teased as well. Directly from the app page:


Android widget – Add the widget to your home screen for easier access to your favorite TV shows and movies.
Coming soon: Call Netflix Help directly from the app (Microphone permission required)

Netflix remains free (with a current subscription) on Google Play.

[via Google Play]

Notepad Reminder Review

Notepad Reminder Review

Aug 27, 2014

Smartphones are predicated on convenience. The best apps are simple to use and make people’s lives easier. But for some reason, app developers have not harnessed the convenient potential of widgets. At least, that is the concept behind Notepad Reminder, a note-taking widget that is easy to use and easier to access.

Rather than digging through menus and taking time to open an app, widgets offer a way to interact with an app right on an Android device’s home screen. This feature is typically used to relay emails or check sports scores at a moment’s notice, but Notepad Reminder takes it to another level, adding usability and productivity right to the home screen.

Notepad-Reminder-2Users can install the widget on one of the many slides that make up their home screen and access all of the app’s features directly from the widget. In fact, there is no app, making it the most simplistic way to take notes on an Android device.

Instead of a one-sized-fits-all widget, the Notepad Reminder widget can be customized to a users liking on the home screen. This approach allows each individual user to get what they desire from the app. While one person may need the widget to be as large as possible to read notes, another may prefer a smaller widget to take short, simple notes on the go.

After positioning the widget on your Android device, you can immediately get started leaving notes. A small bar along the top of the widget prompts users to add a note and select a priority. The widget is helpful for completing tasks such as creating a grocery list or a to-do file for the day. However, users in need of taking larger, more intensive notes will find the widget experience cumbersome. Longer notes will display on the widget, but there isn’t room for a lot of information and typing within the bar is unintuitive.

Despite its simplicity, the Notepad Reminder widget also has some features that are typically found in full-fledged apps. Users can set a reminder for each note directly within the widget. Once a task is completed, the note can also be deleted efficiently. There are no complicated menu screens or additional buttons to press; all of this can be achieved directly from the widget using understated yet obvious buttons near each note.

The straightforwardness of the widget is its greatest strength, but also is its biggest weakness. Users will find themselves creating lists on the app, but only one list at a time. There are no organizing features to create long-form notes or organize a list with a title. It would be nice if users had the additional option of using the widget to directly open specific notes within the app. Instead, there is no physical app, meaning some users will find little function for the widget.

Overall, the Notepad Reminder widget is a solid way to jot down quick notes or run down a grocery list without having to dig through menus. However, the app is almost too simple. The oversimplified user interface and lack of a full featured app will make users quickly forget about Notepad Reminder.

DU Battery Saver And Switch Widget Review

DU Battery Saver And Switch Widget Review

Aug 22, 2013

Android devices are getting better when it comes to battery life. The problem is, we are using them for more and more things. So as the battery life gets better, we’ve found something else to suck equal or greater amounts of battery than we are saving. This is where a battery saver app can help.

du-battery-saver-1Some of the cool features are the charging calendar. This give the option to see everyday the phone or tablet was charged so a basic idea can be had about the charging habits or needs for the device. Another cool feature are the widgets. Part of the widget is the optimizer The optimizer, in the simplest explanation, shuts down anything running that’s not needed at that time. It’s a good idea to do this now and again to make sure no battery hogs are waking up and running on their own.

For some devices, having the battery level icon and information in the notification bar is great. I know when I get a new device and this isn’t an option, it’s one of the first apps I download. The icon in the notification bar shows the actual percentage, not just an inaccurate battery icon.

As time goes on, it will be easier to see the benefit of the data DU Battery Saver is. Some apps that run in the background may be apps hardly used. A good example for me is Facebook. I am rarely on it while mobile so I can regain 5% of my battery by deleting the app so it isn’t running in the background.

One of the biggest battery sucks is the screen. When the screen is on, the battery is draining much quicker than almost anything else the device uses. Keep this in mind when looking at the apps and functions listed. For my devices, it is usually 30 to 50 percent of the battery drain under normal usage.

Theme Thursday – Inspired

Theme Thursday – Inspired

Jul 21, 2011

I can sum up this week’s theme in one word: bokeh. That’s the first word that popped into my head when I saw the screen shots for Inspired, a theme for ADW Launcher.

ADW Launcher is a home screen replacement utility that allows you to customize the look, feel and function of your Android device’s graphical user interface. Custom themes built for ADW Launcher make it extremely easy to replace the entire icon set, wallpaper and dockbars, giving your device a more personal identity.

Now, back to that word I mentioned earlier, “bokeh.” In photography, bokeh refers to the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in the out-of-focus areas of photographic images. It can make for some very appealing shots that many photographers strive for in their work, and, as you can see by the screenshots, it’s part of why I chose this week’s theme.

I’m not sure if the images in the included wallpapers were photographs that have been blurred to the point of abstraction or if they were already abstract splashes of color with a blurring filter applied to them, but they are simply gorgeous. They cause the icons to pop right out at you. It makes for a perfect wallpaper that is both beautiful and eye-catching, but not distracting. You can see the icons clearly and identify them quickly.

The only thing I don’t like is the color scheme of the folders, as seen in the screenshot below.

The way the folders are done here is a wrinkle in an otherwise flawless theme — one of my favorites to date.

The clock being used in the screenshots is a free clock widget called BobClockD3. I think it’s a perfect complement to this already outstanding theme.

Inspired is available on the Android Market for US$1.00, and the author does welcome icon recommendations, just in case you don’t find a custom icon for your favorite app.

Theme Thursday – BlackGold

Theme Thursday – BlackGold

May 12, 2011

I’m of the mindset that you have to be careful about adding gold accents to things. You can go from classy to trashy if it’s not done right. That said, I think this week’s theme sits somewhere comfortably in-between.

This week, I’m looking at BlackGold from ADDesigns, a theme for ADW Launcher.

ADW Launcher is a highly-customizable home replacement for your Android device. You can customize everything from the wallpaper to the icons. You can even customize the dock and app drawer to work in a variety of ways that take it beyond your stock phone settings. BlackGold is a theme for ADW Launcher that will instantly customize most of those features.

There’s something very solid and sleek about BlackGold. The gold accents in the black icons, plus the general shape and sharp lines make it look very precise. It almost reminds me of a wrist watch that has just enough of a stylish flair to take it beyond a mere timepiece.

When you consider that, most of the time, the only reason people pull out their phones is to see what time it is, you begin to feel that the cell phone is the modern day equivalent of the pocket watch. Therefore, I would assume it only makes sense to have a theme that suggests the more luxurious side or your Android phone. After all, smartphones don’t exactly come cheap.

BlackGold costs US$1.49 on the Android Market and comes with more than 250 custom icons, an additional 170+ icons in an icon pack for use with ADW’s custom shortcuts and 6 wallpapers to match the theme.

If last week’s theme, Tha Shag, was too rustic and retro for you, see if BlackGold isn’t more inline with your chic fashion sense.

Note: The clock widget featured in the screen shots is called SiMi, available in the Android Market.

Extended Controls

Extended Controls

Sep 23, 2010

A favorite past time of any Android user is tweaking one’s home screen to utmost perfection. And unlike our iPhone loving friends, we can actually do something besides just rearrange our apps and put them in folders. On tap for your home customization fix today is a super duper fantastic widget with an incredibly creative name: Extended Controls. What does it do, you ask? Why, it extends the power control widget that comes on Android with some awesome features. And it’ll only cost you 79 Euro cents!

You may remember my previous review of a similar widget app, SwitchPro Widget. Extended Controls is very similar. It mimics the style of the original power control widget and gives you tons of customizable options. You can change the icon style, background transparency, and even the shape and color of the indicator.

Extended control gives you a myriad of toggles to add to your home screen. Some of my favorite are the toggle for sd card mount and torch (flashlight for those on the west side of the Atlantic). Like SwitchPro Widget, you can set your widget size from 1 to 4 spaces wide. But Extended Control lets you cram as many toggles as you want on there. If you see the screen shot below you can abserve the rather ridiculous possibilities this option affords you.

My hands down, favorite feature of Extended Control is the ability to edit widgets after you place them on your home screen. Just run the app in your app list and it will give you a list of widgets and you can go in and tweak them to your pleasure. Not only that, but you can enable a modify button the widget itself for easy editing.

Users seem to reporting some bugs at present, like the APN toggle not working. However, I had no trouble getting it to work on my HTC Incredible after I switched the setting to have it control the mobile network directly.

I think we can all agree the the stock power control widget leaves much to be desired. So it is imperative for any self respecting Androider to get a souped up control widget like Extended Control. So is this the best one out there? That’s not so easy to say. I advise all to check it out, try it, and see if you like it. Either way you’ll certainly find it worth your .79 Euro.

SwitchPro Widget

SwitchPro Widget

Sep 9, 2010

One of the things that always keeps me jazzed is the liberal app aproval policy in the Android market. It lets developers improve on just about any feature in Android, without Google getting all hot and bothered. SwitchPro Widget is just such an example. It takes the simple “power control” widget available on any Andoid phone and really tricks it out. Its nearly unlimited combinations will keep anyone who wants customizable toggles happy.

SwitchPro Widget looks a lot like the power control widget that comes with Android—except you get complete control. Want a single widget that turns on your camera flash? Done. Want a widget with seven different buttons? You got it. You can also change the color of the indicator and make the widget

Launch-X Pro Review

Launch-X Pro Review

Aug 26, 2010

Ah, the Android home screen. It’s the first argument in any Android vs. iPhone debate. Not only can you put all kinds of widgets and shortcuts there, but you can replace the stock home altogether. I mean, your iPhone toting friends only just got wallpapers. Anyway, the way I like to keep my home screen is neat and tidy. I keep most widgets on screens adjacent to my main page so I can appreciate a nice nature-scene wallpaper. Launch-X Pro is a handy and very customizable widget that has furthered my goal of home screen tidiness. And at .99, it might be your ticket to home screen bliss.

Launch-X Pro has two parts: the application and the widgets. In the app you can create widgets that appear as a row of shortcuts on your home screen. You can select up to 49 shortcuts split into 7 different pages within each widget. Besides apps and contacts, anything that appears in the “shortcuts” menu when you add items to your home screen can be added.