September 2, 2013
Widgets have long been a staple that Android users have been able to hold over the heads of iOS supporters. And while there were a few rumors circulating that iOS 7 may include fully customizable widgets, the reality is that Apple has left them out once again.
That being said, even if iOS were to incorporate widgets someday, Android will hold the competitive edge for two reasons. First, Android has been pumping out widgets for years while iOS has lain dormant. Second, and I come back to this every week, they support an open development platform.
For the time being, the victory will remain in the hands of the Android user when it comes to widgets. In fact, there are so many quality widgets available to Android users, that it will be a hard victory to ever take away from us.
This week’s top 10 focuses on a mixed bag of the highest-rated Android widgets and my personally vetted favorites:
- Beautiful Widgets ($2.59): The clear favorite amongst Android users, Beautiful Widgets lets you add more widgets than you could ever need. Packed full of customizable themes, the clocks, weather displays, and battery percentages have never looked better.
- Dictionary (free): The one-stop shop for looking up those tricky words you may not understand. Input the text right from your home screen and get the definition just as fast as the in-app service would. It also displays a fun word of the day.
- ESPN Score Center (free): Check up on all your favorite teams currently playing with real-time scoring updates. Clicking on an event will launch the app in the blink of an eye, displaying in-depth statistics and analysis.
- Evernote Widget (free): The only widget here that requires a separate download. It comes in three different sizes and grants you access to your notes outside the app. Scroll through your lists, check recently viewed notes, and create new text, snapshot, and audio notes instantly.
- Extended Controls ($0.99): This app provides widgets for your device controls and features more than 30 toggle settings for specific widgets. Create custom backgrounds, set widget transparency, and give your home screen experience a sleek new look with navigation widgets.
- Flixster (free): Use this timeless favorite to quickly check the Rotten Tomatoes score of any movie you are interested in going to see. Scroll through the current box office hits and simply click to launch the app to search for nearby theaters, buy tickets, or read reviews.
- Google Drive (free): This widget is linked directly to your personal Google Drive account, and offers a lot of control in a small package. You can go straight to your drive, check starred documents, and upload images or documents with the touch of a button.
- Shazam (free): The next time your favorite song comes on the radio, use the widget instead of the app to automatically trigger the song identification. This widget is only the size as an app icon, allowing versatile home screen placement.
- Twitter (free): Set the widget to display either tweets or mentions, which will be listed in real time. Scroll through all of your shoutouts or favorite tweets, and pen your own responses with a touch of the quill button.
- YouTube (free): Jump directly to the YouTube player by clicking videos as they cascade down your screen. This widget displays your video channel subscriptions, video suggestions similar to what you like, or videos you have previously watched.
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