One of the things that makes Android a truly beautiful platform is customization. I’m not talking about custom ROMs or root mods; I’m talking about how no other major mobile platform out there lets you customize your device the way Android does. There may be some caveats, but you have the ability to make your Android device completely unique. My wife hates using my Nexus 5 because it’s so different than her Galaxy S4. Maybe that’s a bad thing, I’m not sure. But what I do know is that I have my Nexus 5 set up exactly the way I want it and I love it. My home screen looks awesome, and not only is it super functional, it’s also fun to use. The beauty is that I can change it tomorrow if I get a new idea. My home screen isn’t going to look like everyone else’s iPhone (although I could make it look like iOS if I wanted) or Windows Phone; my device looks like no one else’s because it’s Android.
This is the fourth post of a recurring series about making your Android device yours. Today we’re covering widgets for the first time, and we’re talking about super customizable widgets. My goal here is to offer customization ideas that will work for all Android devices, whether you’re still running Gingerbread or you’re on the latest version of Android, Kit Kat. You don’t need to be rooted. You don’t need to be running a custom ROM. All you need is a little bit of time and an itch to change things. If that sounds like you, read on my friend. We’re going to have fun diving into the world of customization and making your device truly unique.
Last week we covered some ways to find some dope wallpapers. We’ve also covered some popular custom launchers and long shadow icon packs. Logically we now need some ways to get you some fancy buttons, clocks, weather, toggles, etc. Enter UCCW (Ultimate custom widget) and Zooper. Both of these widget creation apps offer the same basic idea: YOU can create your very own widgets just the way you want them to with whatever information you like. OR, if you’re not feeling creative today or you don’t have the time, both UCCW and Zooper allow users to create and make their own screens available for everyone’s use. Some are free. Some are paid. The point is you have some really cool options to put some rad looking clocks/weather/whatever widgets front and center on your homescreen.
I have the most experience with UCCW. I’ve been using it a long time and have used it in the past to make my own widgets. Lately, I’ve been buying or using widgets made by themers who do way cooler stuff than I can do. I’m really into cool clocks and weather widgets. A few of my current personal favorites are Long Shadows clock, Elegante Skin, MNML Weather, and Flat Sense. To use these widgets, you need to have UCCW installed and the skin. Then all you need to do is add a UCCW widget and select the skin. Then you can place and resize the widget all you want. UCCW is free. If you donate to the developer within the app you can remove the adds.
I may lose some Android customization street cred by saying this, but I haven’t really gotten around to trying out Zooper yet. I’ve been too big of a cheapskate lately to fork out the $2.49 for the Zooper Widget Pro version which allows you to use other people’s themes like with UCCW. I promise I’ll buy it soon. However, I keep hearing in communities and throughout the interwebz that Zooper is the new it customization widget. Apparently if you want to do it right, you do it in Zooper. And, you can easily integrate your Zooper widget in the Themer launcher which could be beneficial to some of you. Check out the video to see how amazingly customizable your Zooper widgets can be.
So what are you using to make your custom widgets? What are your favorite skins? Since I don’t have a lot of experience with Zooper yet, why do you like it better? Or do you not? There may be other highly customizable widgets out there. If I’ve left out something that you feel is worth mentioning, please comment below and let us know what you’re using and why you think it’s awesome. You can also use the HTML <img> tag and show us your homescreen. We’ll continue to share other customizable widgets and skins in the future. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to let us know what topic you’d like to see covered in an upcoming edition of “make your Android device yours.”