Month: May 2013
Now apps that helps you to manage your time and work efficiently!!
Make list. Tick things off list. Lose list. List-making apps for smartphones are myriad, but so far have taken longer to use than a pen and paper.
Available on different platforms and devices – such as iOS, Mac OS X, Android, Chrome, Gmail and Windows-flavoured operating systems – and often synced via the cloud, we’ve enlisted some of the best free or cheap task apps for this super-test.
Free (Android, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows)
The best-looking app around is also the king of the cloud. Tasks can be entered and later filed into folders (work, DIY or anything – it’s free text entry), or smart lists created for today, the current week, or for anything starred. It’s familiar, it’s simple and it’s enormously useful.
We especially like the way each entry can be expanded upon; a simple ‘buy bread’ instruction can be created that just sits there until being digitally crossed-off (by ticking a box), or it can be given a due date whereby pop-ups appear on a smartphone and desktop – and even via email. It goes deeper, with a notepad available for each entry that can store reams of simple text.
Our only complaint is that anything pasted into the notepad loses all formatting, and there’s not even bold/italic/underline functionality within the apps.
Other than that, it’s not far off being a task-based Evernote. Everything is stored on the cloud, and lists can be shared between people, too, so it’s just as good for a weekly shared shopping list as it is for a work project.
Remember the Milk
Free (Android, Gmail, Google Calendar, iPad, iPhone, Outlook, Twitter)
It looks basic and, design-wise, a little dated, but in practice Remember The Milk is one of the better task apps, largely because it’s available across so many platforms.
King of the cloud sync, Remember The Milk is as comprehensive – or not – as you want it to be. If you just want to make a simple list of things not to forget, the default sections for Today, Tomorrow and Overdue are probably enough.
Exact due dates and times can be set and reminders (via email or text message) come through promptly, though it’s also possible to set daily, weekly or even yearly tasks that could cover birthday present-buying or annual job tasks (such as filing tax forms).
Its availability across almost every device and platform is another bonus, but think twice about installing it everywhere – it works for you, remember, not the other way around.
£1.49/US$1.99 or £4.99/US$6.99 (iPhone or Mac)
Clear is all about swiping instead of tapping.
Folders and individual tasks are created by side-swipes, with left and right gestures completing or deleting them, while a long swipe downwards returns to the main screen. The interface relies on blocks of colour, though several simple themes are available.
Clear is a product of the ‘less is more’ mantra, and while that will be a plus for some, others will sorely miss the chance to set reminders, create timed events or program recurring tasks.
Although it’s thoroughly modern and thoughtfully designed, it’s not much more than an electronic version of a paper notebook – although the cloud-syncing introduced with the birth of a Mac app version does change that.
There is some unnecessary clutter, with empty folders graced by pithy rent-a-quotes from the likes of Thomas Edison, Carl Sagan and, err, Bruce Lee, which can be posted by Twitter. That gives it a slightly amateur dimension that doesn’t sit well with its price, though overall the core simplicity of Clear will be just what some users are after.
69p/US$0.99 (iPad, iPhone)
Most to-do list apps hinge on a smartphone app, but ITA – though for iOS only – is also optimised for the iPad. Like Clear, ITA is another very simple app that does away with scheduling or recurring tasks and instead presents text-only entry boxes for tasks.
Once grouped together under a heading – say, Work, Home or DIY – tasks can all be reordered, edited, completed (and thus put to the bottom) and entire lists shared by either email or – unusually – by text message, most often by a tap or a drag.
The master list of, err, lists can also be reordered, but across the app there’s a mishmash of different fonts, sizes and backgrounds that give it a slightly disjointed look.
Although all lists can be stored locally, there’s a cloud-based option if you want to access and alter tasks from both an iPhone and iPad.
Free (Android, Chrome, iPhone)
Probably the most beautiful-looking task app, Any.DO works across iOS and Android devices as well as via an almost identical Chrome extension, though there’s an email action plugin for Gmail, too.
The elegant interface is divided into Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming and Someday. When entering a new task on Any.DO there’s a speech-to-text option that works reasonably well, though it only makes one attempt; if it misunderstands you it’s back to the keyboard. Notes can be made for each task – again, there’s a speech-to-text option upfront – and tasks can be shared with others via email.
Reminders can be set for specific times, while tasks can recur daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. However, the app’s daily reminder at 10am to ‘take a moment to plan your day’ does grate; who wants to be hassled by an app?
Although it syncs with Google Tasks, a unique angle of Any.DO is a Gmail plugin that monitors the language in all incoming emails in an attempt to extract a task to add to Any.DO. In practice, the suggested action is often way off the mark, but it’s a cinch to add free text in the ‘What’s Next?’ box and set a time to follow up.
As well as a rather simple Chrome extension, there’s a new location-based feature that uses your phone’s GPS to set geographical alerts. However, it’s only available if you go through the process of inviting friends to use Any.DO, which for us is a task too far.
Designed solely for the iPhone, Taskulous is similar in structure – if not in scale – as Any.DO.The basic front screen groups things into Today, Scheduled and Someday, which might be a bit prescriptive for some, but in practice covers anything. That last folder – Someday – can become a dumping ground for tasks that don’t fit anywhere else, but can be just as exhaustively scheduled as anything else.
For each task there’s a free-text Notes tab and a Due Date and – best of all – the option to add it to a linked Calendar, such as iCal or Google Calendar. It’s a clever way to both extend the reach of this one-device app and meld with your existing ways of organising your life. As well as appearing in the Scheduled tab, any event or task can be shared via email.
However, even if you give exhaustive due dates for tasks they don’t appear in the Scheduled section, just the folder you originally created them in, so you have to make that decision beforehand.
The empty Logbook section, which is presumably for completed tasks but remained empty during our test, reinforces our feeing that Taskulous isn’t quite as polished or as flexible as it first appears.
Excessive use of cell phone may leads to infertility : Research
While cell phones have become an indispensable part of our lives, over-attachment and over-dependence on them can spell doom for your health. Here, experts reveal why too much usage can cause you more harm than good…
Reduces sperm count
Gynaecologist and infertility specialist Dr Nandita Palshetkar says that the high-frequency electromagnetic radiation that cell phones emit may be associated with increased risk of brain tumours.
“However, other tissues in the body such as the testes may also be sensitive to these cell phone radio frequency electromagnetic fields. Cellphone fields, because of their frequency and intensity, are prone to increasing temperature in tissues close to where they are used. Men who use handsfree devices tend to carry their cell phones in their pants pocket or clipped to their belts at the waist while in talk mode. As a result, they may be exposing their testicles to damaging radio frequency electromagnetic waves. When placed close to the testes, such as in a pocket or on the hip, cell phones have been found to be associated with reduced sperm motility and concentration . Even cell phones that are at rest are emitting signals as they constantly monitor the airwaves for a signal,” says Dr Palshetkar.
Researchers in the US showed that radio frequency electromagnetic waves emitted from cell phones can impair sperm quality. They collected semen samples from 32 men and divided each man’s sample into two parts. They placed half of the semen samples 2.5 centimetres away from an 850 MHz frequency cell phone in talk mode for one hour.
They chose this distance because it is the typical distance between the testes and the trouser pockets. Semen exposed to radio frequency electromagnetic waves emitted from cell phones had higher levels of damaging free radicals , lower sperm motility (the ability of the sperm to move and swim) and sperm viability (the percentage of live sperm), and possibly greater oxidative stress, the study shows. There were no significant differences in DNA damage between the exposed and unexposed groups. Future studies will determine if there is dangerous emission when the phone is in silent or standby mode. The emission may be smaller than when in talk mode, but could still be harmful if it reaches the testes, say researchers.
Risk for people with pacemakers
Interventional cardiologist Dr Suresh Vijan says that cell phones and portable media players produce measurable electrical and magnetic fields. But the strength of these fields will not affect ordinary heart rhythm or function, studies suggest. “Various experts have also looked at whether cell phones can present a danger to those with an implanted pacemaker, internal defibrillator or a similar device. The results, for the most part, have been reassuring. Problems may be most likely to arise when pacemakers and defibrillators are being programmed or reset by medical staff. Signals from consumer gadgets may interfere with settings. Cellphones should therefore always be turned off under these circumstances. Such signals could interfere with everyday function of heart devices as well. The good news is that the laws of physics dictate that the strength of the fields generated by cell phones and other electronic players falls rapidly with distance from the source. What this means is, if you double the distance from the source, for example, the field force drops four-fold (two squared), not just two-fold . We recommend that those with implanted devices such as pacemakers or defibrillators keep their cell phones at least six inches from the generator to minimise potential interference,”
Hurts the joints
Joint replacement surgeon Dr Nirad Vengsarkar says that when one overdoes texting, finger joints start aching and in worst case scenarios, there is even an early onset of arthritis, especially in the interphalangeal joints of the thumbs. “There has been a steady rise in the number of patients who complain of pain in the fingers, with discomfort even travelling to the arms in some cases. Some people even complain about neck pain because they tend to hold the phone between their ear and shoulder while they work. Others use incorrect postures to sit and text. All these have increased the number of patients who suffer from joint pain. I would advise people to avoid texting continuously for hours because in the long run, it will do them a lot of harm.”
The top sports result apps for android from ME AND MOBILE!
In 1973, there was a whole episode of Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads dedicated to not finding out the football score before seeing the TV highlights.
These days there really is no hiding place from a big result, but there’s also no need to wait for the TV highlights either, with an ever increasing range of apps offering live coverage of all your favourite sports.
Home of British sport since pre-digital days, the Beeb has come up with an app worthy to succeed Final Score. With live football results and top news from all major sports, it’s just a shame it doesn’t make the teleprinter noise.
ESPN offers a range of free sports apps, but its Premier League one is the, er, premier league one. As well as live scores and stats, it offers near-live video clips of every goal, plus highlights packages at half-time and full-time.
Soccer Scores – FotMob
If you’re after an all-in-one soccer app, this one boasts more balls than most, with coverage of the Premier League, Championship, Leagues One and Two, Conference, Scottish Premier League, Champions League, Bundesliga, Serie A, Serie B, Mexican League and more!
Despite a default focus on football, personalisation lets you create quick links to your favourite sports including athletics, boxing, cycling and skiing. Live scoring and results for every major event are augmented by new stories, videos and exclusive web chats
This official freebie is probably the best golf app out there right now, with real-time scorecards, play-by-play updates and custom leaderboards from every PGA tournament. Up-to-the-minute coverage includes player profiles and full schedules, plus video highlights including shot of the day.
Get Flintoff-fast scores, push notifications and ball-by-ball commentary with this free app incarnation of the popular cricket website. Stats fans will love the points tables and comprehensive player and team rankings, while incisive news and editorials add some in-depth analysis.
This all-in-one app promises live scoring for all Tier One rugby around the world, including the Six Nations. Video highlights and live chat are great if you can’t be there; ticketing news and stadium maps are great if you can.
Give your handset some added horsepower with the latest racecards and results from around the UK. The free app also includes news and blogs, while a monthly sub adds live video from Cheltenham, Aintree, Epsom, Newbury, Goodwood, Newmarket and more.
F1 2013 Timing App – Premium
This official app comes with a hefty price tag (£19.99), but with live timing, track positioning and interactive 3D maps for every race of the 2013 F1 season, it really does put you in the driving seat.
LIVE Score SofaScore
Fans of US sports (and initials) can get super-fast scores for NBA basketball, NFL and AFL football, NHL ice hockey and MLB (major league baseball) with this one handy app that also covers an insane amount of soccerball and a whole lot more.
TeamViewer is a powerful program that will let you take remote control of a PC over the internet
Here’s a familiar yet nightmarish scenario: you’ve burned the midnight oil to write up that report your boss has demanded for first thing in the morning, but when you get to work you discover you’ve left the file on your PC’s desktop. What should you do? Resign, plead for mercy or just run?
Well the answer – if you’ve got a piece of software called TeamViewer installed on your PC – is relax.
TeamViewer is a clever and very powerful program that will let you take remote control of a PC over the internet. This makes it ideal for retrieving forgotten files, and it’s also a great way of helping friends and family with their computer problems without leaving the comfort of your desk.
If you’re a home user you can download and install the software for free. For business use, see the licensing options. As you read on we’ll discover how to rescue that forgotten file and also how to take remote control of your desktop PC. Here’s how to do it.
Step-by-step: Get files from your PC remotely
Grab the software
TeamViewer is like a telephone conversation made between two PCs, so both machines will need to have the software installed. We’re going to assume you’ve a main desktop PC and a laptop that you take out and about with you. To get started, download TeamViewer on your desktop PC from
Now click ‘Run’ at the bottom of the screen and, when prompted, accept the license agreement. You’ll need to check the two tick boxes here as well. Finally, when prompted, choose ‘Personal/ non-commercial use’ and click ‘Next’. The next screen is called ‘Set up unattended access’. All you need do is click ‘Next’ to proceed.
Make an account
On the next screen, you’ll need to give your computer a password. Once you’ve chosen one, click ‘Next’. On the following screen you’ll be asked to provide your email address and a TeamViewer password; make a note of this password, because you’ll need it later. Click ‘Next’ when you’re done.
Activate your team
You will now see a screen that looks like the one above. Don’t worry about the passwords at this point – we’ll use those later. Your final job is to access your email inbox and find a message from TeamViewer. You’ll need to open it and click on the long link, which will activate your TeamViewer registration.
Set up your laptop
Next, it’s time to fire up your laptop and install TeamViewer there, too. When you’re done, you’ll need to follow the same steps as before until you reach the screen above. This time, select ‘I already have a TeamViewer account’ and enter the email address you registered with, along with your TeamViewer password.
Let’s be adventurous and give full control of your desktop to your laptop. Looking at your main PC, note down the number next to ‘Your ID’. Now, working on your laptop, enter this number into the ‘Partner ID’ box. Click ‘Connect to partner’ and enter your TeamViewer password. You’ll see your desktop PC’s Windows desktop appear.
Access your PC remotely
Working on your laptop, you should now be able to move icons around on your other PC. You can open programs, close programs and make system configuration changes too. In this mode, TeamViewer is also ideal for troubleshooting PCs remotely. Set it up as before and you’ll be able to help your friends without leaving your own home.
Retrieve that file
If you’ve forgotten to transfer a file from your desktop, close the windows that control your other PC, then look under ‘Control remote computer’ in the TeamViewer display. Select ‘File transfer > Connect > Log on’. Navigate to your file and select it. Click ‘Retrieve’ and it will be transferred to your laptop’s My Documents folder.
Aside Posted on Updated on
ME AND MOBILE’S TAKE ON BEST ANDROID PHONE IN THE MARKET
There’s one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition – the number of phones out there running Google’s hot mobile OS.
We’re now seeing the latest wave of phones rocking up on Android Jelly Bean, while Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich gets swept under the carpet.
Samsung makes loads of them. Sony’s cut the Ericsson ties but still is cranking out the Google-branded handsets. Then you’ve got Android-powered phones from Acer, LG, Huawei, ZTE and many others, and while HTC has ceased the practice of releasing more phones than centipedes have shoes (they do wear them, you know) it’s still one of the more prominent Android manufacturers.
The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.
Do you physically and emotionally need a QWERTY keyboard? Are you the sort of oddball who prefers the rough pressing needed to make resistive touchscreens work? If so, you won’t find much luck here, as those technologies are sadly phased out of the Android world as buyers get enamoured by fancy, glossy capacitive touchscreens.
To help find the best Android phone for you, we’ve rounded up the best Android handsets out there today, rating the phones on hardware performance, OS upgrade potential and, of course, how shiny and nice they are to have and boast about to work colleagues.
So here they are – the best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons.
Sony Xperia T
This is James Bond’s phone apparently. Well, he was seen using it in Skyfall, so that’s good enough for us. It packs some lower specs than others on this list, but combines them in an attractive unit.
The Xperia T heads back to the design language of the Xperia Arc, meaning it’s got a lovely curved back that sits comfortably in the hand, and the large and expansive screen provides great video playback thanks to the Bravia Engine.
Sony has produced another impressive smartphone that offers the functionality and performance we’re looking for in a top-level handset.
That being said, when compared with the earlier Sony Xperia S, or some of the other Android handsets, the difference is negligible – with the Xperia Z far, far superior.
The Sony Xperia T is a very, very good phone. Despite opting for a dual-core processor over a quad-core option, the Xperia T doesn’t lag and navigating the interface is smooth and easy.
HTC One X+
The biggest and most boastful of HTC’s 2012 Android models, the One X arrived powered by a quad-core Tegra 3 chipset for the ultimate in portable kudos.
And now HTC has taken that design, thrown out the bits that don’t work and had another go… while adding a “+” on the end to show it’s all new and shiny. Plus some red flashes for effect.
It’s addressed storage concerns with a boost to 64GB, improved the web browser efficiency and the always reliable HTC keyboard – although the battery is still a bit of a sore point, despite it being all “efficient-ized.”
The design may not be any different, but we like that as the One X+ was already a handsome looking handset, with the unibody design exuding a premium air of superiority.
The beefed up processor along with the Android 4.1 and Sense 4+ UI updates makes the One X+ an even slicker, smoother and more powerful customer than its older brother.
HTC’s latest version of its Sense interface is great here, with the display, fancy modern case construction and performance all combining to make a superb phone – and now we’re looking at more storage and a better OS to play with too.
LG Optimus 4X HD
LG’s attempt at stealing some of the high-end market is a rather impressive monster of a phone, combining a quad-core processor with a large 4.7-inch display that runs at a 1280 x 720 resolution.
The result is a big yet slim phone that ticks all the boxes. It’s fast, it’s great for web use and the keyboard’s a pleasure to use on the larger screen, and although there are no stand out physical or software elements to make it a complete must have, the LG Optimus 4X HD is a slick, powerful phone that does everything well.
However, it pales in comparison to the Google Nexus 4 – although we do like the overlay LG chucks on top of its phones to hide the Android OS below, which is the main reason you’ll buy this phone.
A great all-rounder, but lacking some of the polish and features that make HTC and Samsung the class leaders. Very close to greatness, though.
Samsung Galaxy S3
With the Samsung Galaxy S4 now launched, the S3 has predictably fallen down the rankings thanks to there being a better phone to recommend, but don’t worry it’s still a wondrous phone.
There’s so many plus points on the S3 we’re not even going to try and list them all here, but things to bear in mind are its excellent battery life, processor speed and multimedia capabilities.
Would we recommend you buy one if you’re hankering for a spot of Samsung? Yes, but only if the S4 is out of your price range, as it’s a much better version of the S3.
The design didn’t impress us as much as when we first laid eyes on the S2, but that’s the only big issue we could find – and seeing as it’s sold by the millions it proves the S3 is still a cutting edge smartphone.
You won’t be disappointed by the Samsung Galaxy S3. It’s fast, it’s sleek and it packs some great technology at a price that will get your pulse racing, but not your wallet’s.
HTC One S
The HTC One S is every bit as capable as the larger One X, only here you get to enjoy the power of Qualcomm’s S4 processor.
It can feel even faster in use than the One X, plus the more modestly proportioned display results in a phone that’s a little more pocketable and easier to use with just the one hand.
It’s now rocking not only Android Jelly Bean but also an updated version of the HTC Sense overlay, bringing more power to areas such as the camera.
The camera and imaging tools are almost identical to those found on the One X+ and the metallic chassis (with “micro-arc oxidisation”) feels cool in the hand. It feels like a little rocket.
The mid-sized option of HTC’s One range is a winner, combining cool construction with Android and HTC’s latest, greatest software. Seriously, we dare you to stroke the back of this super svelte device, and not be tempted by the overall power and aesthetic.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Samsung took screen size to a ridiculous new level with the Galaxy Note, offering us a huge 5.3-inch display that’s by far the largest of any smartphone out there today.
Now that trick has been taken to the next level, by offering a 5.5-inch screen within the same footprint. The S Pen Stylus has been updated to include more than 1,000 pressure sensitivity levels, and the screen resolution is impressively boosted, too.
As with many of Samsung’s Android phones, the Note II is a solid performer, and also came complete with Android Jelly Bean out of the box, along with updates to the Touchwiz overlay.
The Super AMOLED HD Plus resolution, combined with a more intuitive S Pen and greater range of software, shows we writers don’t always know what we’re talking about: Samsung has made a success of a category most of us had written off.
A great phone, as long as you’re not easily embarrassed by whipping out something so comically huge in public. The power and customization may be too much for some, but for others this is the hypercharged handset they’ll want to try.
Google Nexus 4
Google and LG have worked together to bring to market a fantastic offering, one that even Apple fans can’t help but coo over when they hear the price.
The fact of the matter is that this is a handset with world class specs – yet it’s at a cost you’d expect to get a budget phone for. Sure, there are a few things that could have been done better, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
The Nexus 4 is beautifully designed with a stunning display and rocking the latest version of Android. It has more connectivity than a telephone exchange and even excels in the simple matter of making calls.
We’re not fans of the lower memory allowance, and it’s not got the best screen on the market, and there will be a few that see stock Android 4.2 as too stripped-down to consider it a valid phone OS choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic handset – it would have competed even without the insanely low price tag.
Make no mistake – this is the best Nexus handset so far by a long shot. We love it and can’t recommend it highly enough.
Sony Xperia Z
Sony’s new handset is most definitely the most impressive the firm has launched either in its current guise or as Sony Ericsson.
You can see the Sony influence throughout the handset as it oozes quality and build from the large screen, which fits close to the edges of the bezel, to the intelligent camera that allows you to snap some really premium photos without needing to fiddle about with the settings.
And it’s water and dust resistant too, which makes it excellent for general life business, plus it’s packing a microSD card slot in an impossibly thin chassis, for which we laud the phone even higher.
Add to that the Bravia Engine 2, which can upscale standard definition movies and bring your content to life, and you’ve got a real matchwinning phone in your hands.
While it doesn’t quite pack the clout of the phones from HTC and Samsung, the Xperia Z is a phone that says Sony is definitely back at the sharp end of the smartphone game.
There’s still (a small amount of) room for improvement, as the screen can look a bit washed out from some angles, but there’s no doubt that if Sony keeps us this pace it will be vying for the top spot in no time at all – we just don’t know what Sony will call it.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Hold the phone, what’s happen here? Samsung may have been top dog in 2012, but this year the sultry stylings of the HTC One have proven too strong against a phone that’s a slightly-better-version of its predecessor.
Ok so it’s only really looks that the S4 is too similar, and sadly that was one of the biggest issues most users had with the S3. It’s not the biggest smartphone crime, but that coupled with some other minor niggles means it misses out on being number one.
There’s a lot to love with the Samsung Galaxy S4 with its super sharp screen, powerful camera, long-lasting battery and fluid user interface – it’s got everything you could ever want in a smartphone.
It may be a little more costly than some of its direct rivals, but thankfully it’s still cheaper than the iPhone. If only it was made out of something a little more premium…
There’s no doubt that this is one of the best smartphone ever made – it’s clear, powerful and does everything we’d expect a flagship Samsung mobile to do.
It’s just a shame that the perceived ‘innovation’ doesn’t really add anything, but make no mistake you’ll love the Samsung Galaxy S4 if you decide to plump for it.
Well, here’s something of a shock if you’re a Samsung fan – after nearly two years of dominance, the Korean brand has fallen from the top spot.
It’s nothing to do with the quality of the S4 – it’s still an outstanding phone – but more the fact HTC has managed to bring out a smartphone that’s worthy of any user’s consideration with a supreme aluminium chassis, Full HD screen and simplified version of Sense 5.0 sitting on top of Android Jelly Bean.
The new innovations are also pleasingly more than just marketing gimmicks; Zoe functionality allows the creation of delightful video highlight reels, and the Ultrapixel camera means you’ve got a much wider range of shots available thanks to being stunning in low light.
The only reason this isn’t a five star phone is the slightly off-key battery, which can leak juice if you’re power-creating videos or watching reams of video, but for day to day use it will be acceptable for most.
With power, poise and beauty all combined in this innovative phone, HTC has proved it can more than still cut it with the big boys when it comes to bringing out a lust-worthy flagship smartphone.
ME AND MOBILE have dug out the top widgets for your Android phone.
One of the exciting and innovative things about Android has always been its use of widgets, which, to the uninitiated, are best described as little live apps that are embedded into your Home screens.
You can have an animating photo frame that pulls out a selection of pics from your phone’s gallery, a serious news ticker, constantly updating share prices, annoying social network status updates from people you hardly know – there’s a widgetised version of pretty much any type of mobile app you can think of.
What is an Android widget?
Widgets can cause a bit of confusion among newcomers to Android, as they don’t open like normal apps from your phone’s big list of applications. Instead, widgets are activated by long-pressing on a space on the Home screen, then installed into the nearest available slot.
There are big widgets, wide widgets, little ones that only take up one standard icon slot, and there are also some absolutely terrible spam ones that look a complete mess. So here are our top 20 Android widgets to brighten up your Android phone’s workspace.
It can be a little confusing delving through Android’s numerous menu screens to try to find the particular setting to adjust the ring tone volume – so have it all presented as a nice widget instead.
Audio Manager is nice looking, it lets you see what volume everything’s at, and pops up adjustment slide bars when pressed. You life will get 0.01 percent easier with it.
A teeny tiny one-by-one size widget, Quick Battery isn’t particularly glamorous – but it does a better and prettier job of representing your phone’s battery status than anything else. Plus, when installing the widget, you can choose what you want it to link to – so pressing it can open up the power settings page or… Angry Birds. Anything.
The standard Android power strip is a useful widget that lets you quickly turn off Wi-Fi, adjust the screen brightness and toggle GPS, Bluetooth and data syncing, but Extended Controls adds more. Loads more, from one-touch USB tethering to airplane mode and even switching your phone’s vibration keyboard settings on or off. Plus it’s visually customisable, too.
ColorNote Notepad Notes
Everyone loves the classic Post-It note style of thing, and that’s what ColorNote brings to your Android Home screen. Tiny post-its, one icon square, each linked to either a text note or a simple to-do list. They look cute and you can change the colours for an extra adrenaline rush.
The excellent Evernote comes with a lovely little widget. While it’s not visually that impressive, it adds very convenient shortcuts to your Home screen that make using the data-syncing, scheduling app even easier to use. Instant access to notes, searches, voice memos and more. Just don’t judge it by its looks.
One for all the HTC owners out there. Its bookmarks widget is an excellent way to put one of your empty Home screens to use, with it giving you a full-size, scrolling list of bookmarks right there in front of your fingers. It’s so useful, it’s easier to quit the browser and select a link from here than navigate HTC’s own in-browser bookmark system.
Facebook for Android
While the Android Facebook app seems to be a little slow in development and still misses several key features, its Home screen widget is a lesson in simplicity and elegance. It has a clean look, comprising of only a text box for your latest amusing thought, and a scrollable list of recent status updates from your chums. White, clean, stylish and nice.
Moon Phase Pro
If you live in a place where you’re not constantly illuminated by council street lights, you might be aware of the Moon. It’s a sort of massive rock in the sky that’s nice and relaxing to look at. It also changes shape depending on the time of the month.
You can keep track of these changes with the Moon Phase Pro widget, so you’ll always have something to talk to Sir Patrick Moore about, should you happen to bump into him in your local supermarket. It also makes a very nice live wallpaper.
Best Android clock widget
There are quite a few apps out there that copy the iconic HTC Sense clock and its animating weather system, with one of the finest being Fancy Widget. It wins because it’s free, offering a more traditional Android-style digital clock option, customisable text colours, alternate skins, transparency effects and more. There’s also a Pro version for a couple of quid, if you need even more options.
Best Android weather widget
The Weather Channel
If you are old, or a gardener, and therefore have a serious interest in the weather, there’s no better app than the Weather Channel app. Its widget isn’t particularly beautiful, but you do get reliable data and a selection of widget shapes to suit your Home screen layout. This is also one of the few apps that’s been optimised for Android 3.0 tablets, so is worth checking out for that reason alone if you’re a tablet owner.
Aix Weather Widget
If you want a more modern take on seeing if it’s raining in a place you’re nowhere near, try Aix Weather Widget. It presents its results in a very sexy (yes, sexy) four icon wide bar, that displays a lovely timeline of temperature and condition fluctuations.
You will never be short of an observation about the weather with this to hand. Look at how quickly the temperature dropped off at 16:00 hours in Oslo!
Best Android calendar widget
Google’s built-in Calendar app is excellent, but it’s widget is a little on the simple side. If you want massive, full-page, data-rich Calendar action, Touch Calender is a great option. The free version doesn’t include widget support, sadly – so if you like its style, paying £1.45 for the full version brings you the massive widget.
S2 Calendar Widget 2
If you want more choice when it comes to the design of your Calendar widget, S2 Calender Widget is a good choice. You can edit fonts, background colours, change the default action for when you press it and much more. Makes you wish you had more things to do to put on it.
Best Android contacts widget
Developed by Sony Ericsson, this one works on all Android phones running version 2.1 of the OS or higher. The life contacts .beta widget automatically pulls in photos of your most contacted contacts, generating picture icons from any associated images it can find – whether that’s on your phone or via Facebook. Very simple and stylish.
Last Call adds a live widget that updates with the details of the last phone call you made. Ideal for phone pests, you can set it so that a press dials the person – or not, if you’d rather avoid the possibility of accidentally calling people.
The widget’s background colours are customisable, as are the fonts, although you’ll have to pay for the premium version if you’d also like it to show your last SMS data as well.
Best Android news widget
Google’s simple Reader app a fantastic customisable Home screen widget, letting you pick any individual element from your RSS feeds and have it pop up as a single widget. It’s not the best looking thing, but if you’re a heavy RSS user it’s great to have a constant ticker of your most-read feeds.
News & Weather
For a simpler and more mainstream curated selection of news, Google’s own built-in News & Weather app offers a simple and attractive little widget. If you don’t mind seeing the occasional Daily Mail headline appear, it’s a nice little ticker.
It can be set to show just the weather, just the news or – wait for it! – the news and weather. So versatile. Comes pre-loaded on Android 2.1 phones or higher.
Another RSS reader, only Pulse makes a good attempt at pulling in the images that accompany stories to give it a more visual, magazine like feel. The Android widget pulls this off too, popping up an illustrated, scrollable box dedicated to any particular channel you’ve imported. Can also sync with a Google Reader account, too.
Best Android Twitter widget
The official Twitter client has a nice, simple widget, but TweetDeck offers three separate options depending on your screen layout. There’s a simple text box for posting, a more complex horizontal box for keeping track of messages and replies across multiple accounts, plus a whopping great vertical box if you take Tweeting way too seriously.