Free App Recap January 15 – Weather Widgets

Free App Recap January 15 – Weather Widgets

Jan 15, 2013

We talk about a lot of different apps here in Android Rundown. A lot of the apps are games and some are utilities or productivity apps like the ones seen in the weekly Tuesday Free App Recap articles. Something we haven’t talked about in this weekly column is widgets. Widgets are something unique to the Android OS and are super useful. Some widgets come with downloaded apps like calendars and others are standalone apps. The widgets we are going to talk more about here are weather widgets.

3D Digital Weather Clock

Implied by the name, 3D Digital Weather Clock is a combination of a clock and weather widget. This 4×2 (4 places wide and 2 places high) shows off the weather icon, clock, temperature, location and sunrise time all on a 3-D platter. Combining all of this information into one widget will save home screen space and keep information easily accessible.

Download 3D Digital Weather Clock

Fancy Widgets

Fancy Widgets has a few different sizes to use. The largest widget looks a lot like the HTC Sense clock widget. Fancy Widgets can calculate the sunrise/sunset times, allows for the user to select between Google or AccuWeather for the weather. Additional skins can be downloaded to change the look of the Fancy Widgets . Other information such as battery levels and the date can be seen on these widgets depending on the size of the widget. Look through the different skins and clock types to find just the right look.

Download Fancy Widgets

BeWeather & Widgets

A feature of BeWeather & Widgets setting it apart from the pack is the option to use the icons and skins from other apps like Beautiful Widgets and Fancy Widgets. This means there are a lot of customizing options out there to make these widgets look great. As a weather app, there is the choice to have the temperature displayed in the notification bar. Many options to personalize BeWeather & Widgets are available; changing the range of the radar, adding custom web cams and other media links and options to change fonts and colors.

Download BeWeather & Widgets

Swift Wifi Makes Connecting to Wifi Networks Easier

Swift Wifi Makes Connecting to Wifi Networks Easier

Jun 26, 2012

Sure, for many people, connecting to a wifi hotspot isn’t that difficult, but what about those networks that are protected with WPA2, with a network key that is some crazy amalgamation of characters? If only there was a better way! Well, for multiple Android device owners, there’s a userfuul app called Swift Wifi that can help. On one hand, it’s a 1×1 widget that offers 1-tap wifi connectivity from a user’s launcher. It makes it easy to switch wifi networks, or connect to new ones. But, the app also has the ability to generate a QR code that allows another device to connect to the current wifi network by scanning the code.

It’s just text formatted in a way that includes the SSID and network key, but it is a convenient option for sharing network access, possibly with a visitor without necessarily sharing one’s key directly. Rooted devices generate the key instantaneously once they get Superuser access; non-rooted users just need to put in the password manually on their device ot generate the code. It’s not the most secure method, but convenience often comes at the price of security. Swift Wifi is a free download from Google Play, with a donation version available, though it does not come with any new features, it’s just to support the developer.

Awesome Widgets App Review

Awesome Widgets App Review

Nov 28, 2011

Awesome Widgets is an intriguing challenger to one of the most popular widgets collections on Android, Beautiful Widgets. It’s hard to directly compete with Beautiful Widgets without doing something different which is why Awesome Widgets offers app bars in place of the single toggle shortcuts of it’s competitor. Unfortunately, a poor clock widget greatly diminis,hes the value of this app.

The problem with the clock is its insistence on the addition of an image on the left of the clock widget. This is very bizarre because for an app that’s supposed to be about customization, it’s impossible to edit the size of the time; it’s fixed at half the width of the screen with that pesky icon taking up the remaining latitude. Also the widget only comes in one size and weather has to be displayed at the bottom. These restrictions don’t kill the widget because the low res and tacky themes take care of that right away.

The app bars look and work better (thankfully) than the clocks. The stock icons look very nice and the downloadable skins do a good job adding character to your home page. For the most part the shortcuts work as expected and there are a decently large number of functions to pin to these bars, even though I still prefer the app Widgetsoid for this function. You can store up to 8 icons in one bar which can be very effective in extending the functionality of your home screens. A cool feature is the ability to display local forecasts on your home screen. Awesome Widgets provides multiple forecast options from 5 day to hourly, and this is a nice addition because it gives Awesome Widgets something to set it apart from its more refined competitors.

If Awesome Widgets was free or a buck it would be a tempting purchase because it did run well on my EVO 4G, but seeing as its only 50 cents cheaper than the vastly superior Beautiful Widgets I have trouble recommending this app and it’s not the best value out there.

Speedlauncher App Launcher Presents a Numerical Widget for Quickly Launching Apps

Speedlauncher App Launcher Presents a Numerical Widget for Quickly Launching Apps

Jul 12, 2011

For those users who like to keep a single homescreen, but want access to a wide variety of apps from the homescreen, options have been limited. Speedlauncher offers a possible solution for those app addicts. What the app offers is a widget that works essentially as a speed dial for apps. Apps are assigned a 2-digit code that can be tapped in to the keypad, and then the app is launched. While this introduces the new issue of trying to remember which app’s are registered to which key code, this could serve as a great addition to those looking to use minimalist homescreens. As well, it could work really well for WidgetLocker users looking to get quick app access from their lockscreens. Curious about this potential app launching solution? Download it for free from the Android Market. It might not be the easiest way to launch apps, but for those who want quick access to every app they have, this could prove useful.

WidgetLocker Review

WidgetLocker Review

Mar 9, 2011

One of the things that disappointed me about Android when I first started using it was how customizable everything was – except for my lock screen. It seemed like I was stuck with a basic lock screen that didn’t display anything I truly wanted to see besides what was provided – just clock and battery info and an ability to unlock the phone. I wanted something more – then I came across WidgetLocker, a lock screen replacement that lets you edit your lock screen by adding custom sliders, so you can slide to unlock your phone, and also have a slider to open up the camera, for example. You can also add shortcut icons, the standard time and power/alarm displays, and of course, you can add widgets. Essentially, think of WidgetLocker as a home screen page that’s available whenever you wake up your phone. Note that WidgetLocker respects any security settings you may have, like a pattern or PIN unlock – it will pop up after you interact with anything on the WidgetLocker screen, so you can use this app with security.