Apr 26 AT 3:00 PM Eric Weiss 11 Comments

5 Android Widgets We Want To See – Plus Cupcake Widget Contest

By now many of you have read (or at least glanced at) the article by Jeff Sharkey describing how to use the new tools in the Android 1.5 SDK to program widgets. The idea of widgets on the homescreens of our Androids got all of us giddy with excitement over here at Android and Me and we began to brainstorm the widgets we want.

1) Calendar / To Do List
This is a no-brainer. It looks like a Calendar Widget example is included in the SDK so we can expect this soon after the new version of the OS “ships” with many versions afterwards from developers featuring their own tweaks.

2) News / Finance / Sports Ticker
A simple RSS reader could scroll headlines, sports scores and stock quotes on your home screen.

3) Control Panel
I imagine this as a panel across the top row that looks like brushed metal with a series of toggle switches on it. Each one would turn on and off  an option buried within Settings. WiFi, 3G, Silent, Airplane Mode, etc.

4) Weather
Weather apps are some of the most popular regardless of phone platform. Naturally we expect to see a weather widget. Ideally it would look like a regular icon but the image would be representative of the weather conditions. The label would be the city name.

5) Photo Slide Show
Static images are nice. Slide shows are even better. Set the increment of time for the photo to change or it changes after an event (such as after every phone call).

We want to hear about what type of widgets you guys would like to see. Reply below and let us know.

Update:  Our friend Darkrift from Android-DLs.com has launched his first Droid Dev Challenge.  Similar to our Android Bounty, he is trying to encourage developers to code widgets for the pending Android 1.5 update.  If you would like to participate, head on over to the contest page and place a donation or leave feedback.

Android 1.5 will bring a flood of new widgets to the Market.

Android 1.5 will bring a flood of new widgets to the Market.

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  • Ben

    Jeff Sharkey has made a really nice weather widget. Check here for more details:

    http://www.jsharkey.org/blog/2009/04/24/forecast-widget-for-android-15-with-source/

  • http://blog.shonzilla.com Shonzilla

    Why Wikipedia widget is not mentioned? :-)
    I would also like to see an RSS feed widget directly on Android desktop.

    Cheers!
    Shonzilla

  • nEx.Software

    I am working on at least one widget for the contest. I am working on a filterable Market feed. In addition to that one, I might do a BarTor widget to allow manual-searches to be initiated right from the home screen.

  • nEx.Software

    #3 (Control Panel) might be difficult given the new restrictions on apps changing settings directly.

  • nEx.Software

    I think that many people will be disappointed with Widgets though, to be honest. Here’s why: There is a limited subset of UI elements which can be included in a Widget. Some of the important ones are missing, most notably the ListView, TableLayout, EditText, Spinner (AKA ComboBox). You can find the list of supported UI Elements here: http://groups.google.com/group/android-developers/msg/a5247467151f5e3a

    You also cannot derive an element from the supported elements. They must be the exact elements given in the listing linked above. That means you cannot add or handle events other than those provided under the AppWidget framework.

    Basically, the only user inputs allowed under the AppWidget Framework are buttons and image buttons. Accordingly, the only events that seem to be available for capture within the Widget seem to be click events. In order to provide any real functionality, you have to resort to displaying a new window, at which point you might as well have just made a normal Application as opposed to an Widget. This is what I’ll have to do with the BarTor widget I mentioned before, pop a dialog or something that provides text input. At this point it might not even be worth it to do a Widget for this, as it doesn’t take long to just go into the application to do the search. The same would be true for a Wikipedia Widget. the Google Search Widget is integrated into the Launcher (Home), and does not use the AppWidget Framework which is why it can have an EditText element. I’m sure that at some point in the future the Android team will add new elements to the AppWidget framework, but until then we’ll have to work within the bounds of current framework or switch to one of the alternative home applications that provides it’s widget support. I have not used any of them so am not aware of what limitations they have on Widgets, but I’d imagine there are some major differences.

    • Yohan

      The google search widgit seems to have supportted text entry since Android 1.0, doesn’t it?

    • http://www.wikispeedia.org james pruett

      I have a genius idea for you nEx..

      Dual purpose widgets.
      Hear me out.

      My widget shows the speed limit, but during non-motion, I might as well display your MarketFeed.

      We should create a dual purpose widget, one for moving, one for non-moving.

      I see a lot of potential to capitalize on that precious desktop-real estate!

      jp

  • Gammax

    I like all of these ideas… they all would be great.

  • Matt

    Check out Twidgit Lite (Twitter Widget) in the android market.

    It’s excellent

  • http://TickingRSSFeedWidget Dan Hughes

    We at KDB Technology are developing one right now that will sit on the homescreen and periodically update the feed as new stories are posted to it.

    Fully customizable, and if you click on the current scrolling feed item, it will take you to the website content relating to that article.

    We expect development/tesing to complete soon and launch in about 2 weeks.

  • http://Website Robert

    I would very much like to see a widget that allows me to put my name on the home screen. To identify my investment against any others. In a size customizable box with a variety of fonts.

    Like name (20chars)
    call my owner’s friend (provide alternate number to get phone back to owner)
    or tap link for mailing address

    Something like that.