In the ongoing battle for smartphone supremacy, Android and iPhone have come a long way and are very close in terms of style, performance and features. The one standout feature that keeps many users on the Android platform is customization – especially the ability to configure your home screen to have much more than a bunch of icons. To be more precise: widgets.
Widgets allow you to customize what you see on your phone every time it lights up: time, date, weather, calendar, update notifications, snippets from apps, the list goes on and on. No matter how much I customize my home screen, the one thing I always like to have at hand is a power control widget to let me toggle my most used settings on and off.
Although the stock Android power control widget is neat, it is nowhere close to being as powerful as Widgetsoid, a free power control widget with more options than you can shake a stick at and an insane level of customizability. Let’s look into how one can use Widgetsoid to create a subtle minimalist panel of toggle switches like this one here:
Before we move on to the tutorial, make sure you have installed Widgetsoid2.x from the Android Market, and freed up enough space on one of your home screens for a single row of icons spanning the entire width. Done? Let’s go then:
(Video not working? Try this link.)
A Quick Summary
- Tap and hold on an empty part of the home screen.
- Select ‘Widget’ in the ‘Add to Screen’ list. Depending on the version of Android on your device, you may either find a bunch of Widgetsoid options in the following list, or a single ‘Widgetsoid’ link that leads to a sub-menu.
- In either case, tap the ‘Widgetsoid Switcher (4*1)’ or ‘Widgetsoid Switcher (5*1) link, depending on how many columns of icons can be displayed on your home screen. The default is usually 4, but you can easily set it to 5 if you are using a custom launcher like LauncherPro or Go Launcher Ex.
- In the Widgetsoid Configuration panel, start checking the widgets you want to include in the widget. The tabs at the bottom are categories and as you have no doubt realised by now, the number of possible widgets is pretty mind-boggling.
- Although you are not limited to just four or five widgets, you’ll want to avoid adding too many unless precision tapping is your area of expertise.
- Next, move to the ‘Theme’ section, where you can customize the look of the widgets to your heart’s content. I am looking for a very minimal style with no separators, background or indicators, and a white color for the icons to make them stand out on my gray wallpaper.
- If you do not like the look of the icons that come with Widgetsoid, you can even choose your own icon by tapping the icon in the preview pane at the top. Check ‘Add color filter’ towards the bottom of the Theme list to have your custom icon look flat like the others in the widget.
- Next, go to ‘Advanced’ and check ‘Modifiable’ so that you can always come back and edit the widget at a later point.
- All done. Hit ‘Apply’ and you can start using the widget right away!
What I’ve covered is very much the tip of the iceberg as far as Widgetsoid is concerned. The number of ways you can customize your widget is pretty insane and should satisfy the toughest of control freaks just fine. For a free app, there’s very hardly anything more you can ask for.