Smartphones

The 15 most useful Android smartphone widgets

11. Google Docs bar

The Google Docs app comes with a widget bar that provides one-tap access to your list of docs and your favorites and also let's you start a new document or add a photo to your docs with a single tap.

If you'd prefer to view this as a list instead of a photo gallery, then see the companion blog post.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

29 comments
prowez
prowez

Is the article not about widgets? I see so many defensive Apple comments that are judging this article based on the actual apps. That already tells me that some of you Apple users don't have or don't know of the luxury of a widget.

dbl
dbl

These aren't very useful to me, but I'm not an editor of a tech mag that has to keep up with what you have to stay on top of. Frankly, Android is a disappointment to me. I'm going back to my blackberry. I don't need all of thes fru-fru apps, just a good phone with exchange sycnh, and internet. Android runs slower than Windows IMHO.

mych.ellis
mych.ellis

Extended controls now require mega permissions. They want control of your phone your contacts, they want to see who you are talking to and be able to contact them as well. This makes them no more than hackers. We should all stay away from any app that requires total control of your personal cell phone.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

Perhaps people wouldn't be as harsh on the list of apps if they realized that it was made in August of 2010.

mjrogers
mjrogers

More ways for the boss to keep you employed around the clock.

orendon
orendon

in Ginger Bread I can only have till 7 screens, so i use them for links, short cuts, and a small widget s, at most 1 for each widget, how can I have more menu screens on GBread?

orendon
orendon

in Ginger Bread I can only have till 7 screens, so i use them for links, short cuts, and a small widget s, at most 1 for each widget, how can I have more menu screens on GBread

konamobilepc
konamobilepc

Time, date, day, weather and dictionary? With is up with this?

netsurfau
netsurfau

Most of them are only useful for those living in the US. Pity that most of the world doesn't live there & would prefer to see something more than the usual US-centric bunch of limited apps/widgets etc. How about showing things anyone can use & on more than one brand of phone, or would that be expecting to much?

rader
rader

I bought an Asus Slider with Android to get away from closed Apple products and gave the ipad to my wife. I would seriously consider going back if this article were really advocating these apps as a reason to leave apple to join the android crowd. Author should look for other lines of work, like sales or something in marketing.

skyeenter
skyeenter

As others stated, they try to keep widget free. No worries with my obsolete Palm Pre, didn't have many to choose from, in the first place. Even less to worry about and clutter now. So my little Palm Pre just keeps chugging along, running WEB OS, synchronizing with my HP Touchpad, and doing all the useful things I need, all at the same time, like email, phone, text, GPS, mapping, calendar, my absolutely favorite feature FREE unlimited Mobil Hotspot, photos, wi-fi, pdf, mp3 player,calculator, UTube, automatic back ups, videos, and the limited Palm developed apps I need or want.

mcedwards57
mcedwards57

These have very little use - I keep my phone fairly clear of unnecessary apps so I can find what I want quickly. These widgets all just clutter up your phone, except maybe Google+ if you use that a lot

LaFong
LaFong

There are 2 or 3 interesting widgets here. The one thing I've never understood, though, is the appeal of BFC. Big...Clock. Many/most ads show BFC, as though it were a selling point.

DrDCMgr
DrDCMgr

Same ol boring stuff!

james.vandamme
james.vandamme

...least useful articles on Tech Republic. And that's saying a lot.

Freetime000
Freetime000

Here it thought he refused to touch an android. ;)

Handshaw
Handshaw

Why would anyone use Direct Dial when you can already simply drop a contact on your desktop. You can fit 16 contacts on a desktop and each contact can offer multiple phone options to contact them. No app needed.

bickey11
bickey11

Direct Dial & Direct Message? Picture Dial? Come on. Anyone used Animated Pro Widget? Its a picture dial with WAY more options than any of these. Picture dial only allows 4 contacts. Animated Pro allows many more, not sure how many but i have 14 on my phone right now. You can set a default call, i.e. cell phone, by pressing twice on teh picture, or you can click once and choose from one of the other numbers stored in the contact or email, or message etc. The free version only allows 4 contacts, but i paid for the full version, which i got free on my old phone. It was worth every penny. From time to time you'll see it on sale on amazon for free.

chris
chris

How can anyone say that iPhone users are snobs. I actually have both iPhone and andriod (Galaxy S2). Now if I wanted something that is exclusive, the iPhone is the last thing I would buy because too many people have them. As for Apple's technology being behind the rest well who cares, It works. The user interface is slick, smooth and easy to use. I have two cars, both the bluetooth hands free systems from the manufacturers. The Apple works flawlessley in both, connecting automatically the moment I start the car. The Andriod works with neither. Ok I suppose my Mercedes SL is one of those useless 'snob' cars. But my Ford Focus...

paul.burden
paul.burden

You have to have picked some of the worst widgets out there. For example, I love Pulse but the one thing it's lacking is a decent widget. Without the ability to see more than one news item at a time, it's rubbish. Much prefer the likes of Wizz, which gives you multiple widgets, one of which is a link into your Google Reader streams. The Twitter & Ticker widgets suffer the same problem - one update at a time. In fact, I like Business Calendar because it doesn't have this limitation. For an alternative to this you can also look at Smooth Calendar.

ToriToriTori
ToriToriTori

No one of the iPhone users will change his iPhone for nothing despite of technology or price. The iPhone users uses technology to feel like the user of a luxury car ( a car that is useless, contaminant and snob). Is the perception of own something exclusive, despite of the fact that Apple technology is by far obsolete and designed to the obsolescence.

kmmelcher
kmmelcher

None of those apps would make me want to give up my iPhone.

chdchan
chdchan

I wanna have apps that make me laugh. Maybe a mobile youtube version of American's funniest home videos.

RobertMoore12
RobertMoore12

I have to agree that most of these are useless or worse. Not all mind you, but most.

meetyoulater
meetyoulater

The word Cnet just makes me angry. Wonder why?

glendacherry
glendacherry

15 of the most useless apps I've ever seen ... if I didn't already love my Android phone/tablet, none of these would make me want to switch. Back to the drawing board, Jason ...

amneel
amneel

Some widgets are using only one row (like pandor radio - or weather show in screen shots), some take like 2 icon spaces, like small time clocks), so you can have 4-5 or more widgets on one home screen. Not to forget some widgets can be sized in ice cream sandwitch, so you can make them smaller as you want.

lostudio
lostudio

Finally someone has posted an exact description! Also most of the people I know don't use it as a business tool but just to play games.