One of the groundbreaking features that has defined Android from the very start is the presence of widgets. The ability to customize your phone’s controls and information right from the homescreen is a hallmark of the open mobile operating system.
It has been used by many developers to create some really engaging, useful features.
Concept, Functionality, and Features
Many Android users are already familiar with how to setup and use widgets. Easy Widget, from DreamAppStudio, gives you a set of widgets in various sizes that allow for a robust variety of options right at your finger tips.
The basic widget is the 1×1 which can be set to be a quick contact menu, an app launcher, and a settings launcher.
Normally in a review, we’d break out the concept and functionality from the features, but we’re really dealing with three major types of widgets each of which have their own feature set, so we’ll address each widget type to give you the most detail.
In the case of a contact widget, you’ll designate which person is assigned to it and then subsequent taps will give you easy access to call, text, or email them. On the 1×1, these options pop up in a radial menu around the widget. The larger widget for contacts puts the call, text, and email options right below the photo of the person for even faster access.
The app launcher is an interesting take on the folders concept already baked into Android.
For each 1×1 app launcher widget, you designate up to seven apps you’d like to be able to launch. The main icon for the widget shows the first four apps you select with the other three only appearing after you tap on the launcher.
One of the things we liked about this app collecting model as opposed to the folders is that the launcher pops up the apps in that same radial menu over top of the home screen instead of opening up a folder that blocks the view of the home screen.
This widget only comes in the 1×1 style but we’d be interested to see what the developer could do with a larger app launcher, especially consider the settings bar described below.
The settings widget is especially useful as you can add multiple different settings to the one tap popup. This includes everything from network toggles to audio controls. We were pleasantly surprised at the diverse selection of settings options the developers included for one tap access.
With just a tap of your finger you can adjust things like the screen brightness or quickly “silence all”, which can be much more convenient than sliding menus down or searching through the settings menu of the device.
One favorite feature of this widget set comes in the form of the larger widget for settings: a control bar that lets you organize multiple sets of toggles and settings into almost folder-like groupings of their own and have one bar widget to access these sets and settings in just a couple of taps.
DreamAppStudio has made one of the most useful widget apps we’ve come across in Easy Widget.
The lite version has a couple of limitations we didn’t find stifling (mostly in the contact widget) and the pro version is on sale right now for less than two bucks (USD). We recommend adding this to your device – you’ll save a lot of time and make your digital activities that much easier.
Easy Widget requires Android 2.1+. A small expedite fee was paid to speed up the publication of this review.
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What do YOU think? We’d love to hear your comments, try it and let us know!
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