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The Widgets Galore Guide for Android Users

written by: •edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 9/14/2011

The wonderful world of widgets is something that Android users have over the users of other smartphones (mentioning no names!), so get stuck in with finding out everything about them you ever needed to know but were afraid to ask. What are they? How do you install them? Which are the best?

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    Widgets are amazing little things that will transform the way you use your smartphone - yes, I know you've probably heard that before, but I promise this time it's true. Not only are they useful, many of them look pretty great too and really bring that screen to life.

    There are widgets in lots of different areas, from the popular, clock and weather options, to more specific choices for saving power or keeping up to date with your network and the latest news. It's hard to find a subject that doesn't embrace widgets to be honest.

    We've pulled together a fantastic array of widgets articles that will explain everything, including how you install them and how they are different to shortcuts. Then we serve up a hot plateful of the best widgets in various different areas.

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    How to Add Widgets to Android

    Before we do anything in the wonderful world of widgets, we need to get acquainted with just how to add them to your Android phone. This overview of widgets and how to use them gives you a great starting point, before you decide on the best widgets for you.

    Shortcuts Vs. Widgets

    For an all-round guide to Android widgets, click this way! How do shortcuts differ from widgets and what are the advantages of each? With just a tap a widget can take you to not just an app of your choice, but to specific information and even display some info on the widget itself.

    Pimp your Android with the Top Ten Widgets

    This is the best place to start to get a really great idea of the range of widgets that are available. From simple weather widgets, to useful battery widgets and social networking, widgets are nothing if they are not versatile. Dip your toe in the widget waters and try out one of these top ten choices.

    Useful Android Calendar Widgets

    One of the most popular type of widgets to get installed on your Android is the old faithful calendar widget. You need never forget an appointment or birthday again with these apps -- many of which can sound an audible alarm so you have no excuse for forgetting that important date.

    Best Android Power Control Widgets

    Turn controls on and off, and adjust the relevant settings quickly on your Android. No need to go hunting in the relevant areas of your settings menu, these top options take you straight to the action.

    GeekYouUp Battery Widget

    This widget lets you check your battery level from your homescreen, and enables you to turn off some of those battery-zapping culprits. Find out more in this review.

    Best Android Contacts Widgets

    Need to phone someone in a hurry? Make calls straight from the screen of your phone with this great selection of contacts widgets. Most widgets also have a great look to them, and these apps are no different, often filling your screen with some great pics of your contacts in a neat and organized way.

    Top Android Weather Widgets

    Most phones are likely to have a weather widget, and you want to be part of that action too -- even if the forecast isn't great the display of these widgets really lifts your Android's screen. A simple tap with most of them will update the forecast immediately or take you to a more in depth outlook.

    Get the Latest News on your Screen with Great RSS Widgets

    If you aren't into RSS then now is the time -- these widgets will transform the way you stay in touch with what's going on in the world of... well whatever you choose. Pick the subjects you are interested in, or the sources you access the most for news stories and an RSS widget will make sure you keep abreast of all the latest news as it breaks.

    Best Podcast Widgets for your Android

    The beauty of a podcast app is that you can discover a whole other world of podcasts that you didn't know about, not just your usual favorites. Think of these apps as like RSS feeds of the podcast world. We've rounded up your best options here.

    Top Ten Widgets and Tools on HTC Android Phones

    HTC make some of the best Android smartphones on the market and their user interface, Sense, is very popular. Part of the attraction is the extra tools and widgets they offer and you'll find some great HTC widgets in this article.

    You'll Always Know the Time with these Android Clock Apps and Widgets

    A rather obvious choice for all Android phones, is to adorn your screen with a nice looking clock app. Here we take a look at your top ten options, all chosen for their quality so you know each one is a great choice.

    Best Options for Voicemail Widgets

    The handy thing about voicemail widgets is that you can quickly check who has called and how many messages you have with just a glance -- perfect for the situations where you can't pick up the phone and listen directly.

    Don't forget, another great way to find widgets is to have a quick tap around on your phone - many apps have widgets attached to them that you may not even know about. Long press on a homescreen and pick "widgets" rather than apps and see what your options are. Let us know which is your favorite if we didn't include it in our widgets guide here.