9. Direct Dial & Direct Message
In addition to quick-glance information, Android widgets can also provide quick functions (kind of like macros or keyboard shortcuts on a PC). The Direct Dial and Direct Message widgets allow you to pick someone's phone number in your contacts and create an icon that allows you to immediately call or text that person. If you have a photo for the person then it shows their photo in a 1x1 icon. These two widgets come with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (that's why there's no download link), but if you don't have a phone with ICS then you can use a widget like Picture Dial.
If you'd prefer to view this as a list instead of a photo gallery, then see the companion blog post.
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.