The Things I Love, Pt. 2: The Benefit of Android’s Widgets

Information Lock Widget on Galaxy S3 lock screen

“Ah, widgets. I’ve mentioned them time and time again – you’re probably bored of hearing it – but I love Android’s widgets. They provide you with all sorts of real-time information right on your home screen. You can view live sports scores, breaking news stories, your website’s statistics, the weather forecast, your email inbox, and lots more without opening a single app. And with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, you can add widgets to your lock screen, so you get all of this information without even unlocking your device.

I know widgets aren’t perfect; some are ugly, some consume too much data, and some will drain your battery life. But once you start using them and you begin to rely on them, you wonder why other smartphones don’t have them. When I use my iPhone now, it annoys me that I have to find and open an app for basic information – such as the weather forecast” (Killian Bell, How I Fell Out of Love With My iPhone and Fell In Love With The Nexus 4).

In part 1 on Killian Bell’s appreciation of Android (called “The Things I Love, Pt. 1), I stated that Bell liked Android 4.2 and the ability to move around icons and allow pictures on your desktop to be displayed without icons covering up the photo. This article will deal with Killian Bell’s appreciation of widgets, a feature that Bell says most users cannot live without.

Widgets provide you with necessary information without opening one app. With iOS, you have to open the weather application to find out the weather for the day. With Android weather widgets, you can view the weather right from your lock screen as well as your main screen after unlocking the device by swiping from left to right.

If you want to check your email in iOS, you have to download a Gmail app for Google mail. Once you log into your email account, you can then access your email. On the other hand, Android users can access their email by adding a Gmail widget to their main pages on the Android smartphone. The email widget allows you to check your email simply by tapping on the Gmail icon. Unlike the iOS app, you do not need to log in to access your email with an Android email widget.

Widgets make the smartphone experience easier and more accessible than smartphones that lack widgets. One thing that Android 4.2 does (which I believe Killian Bell likes most) is the lock screen widgets that you can add to your Android lock screen. While the weather and information lock tickers are lock screen features that you can access in Android 4.1, Android 4.2 takes even greater advantage of the lock screen than in previous updates. If Google has its say, Android 4.2.2 may come with a new “Google Now” widget that you can access before you swipe to unlock your smartphone. While iOS’s voice command (Siri) can tell you sports scores, there is no other way to find out unless you download a free sports app and view it from your iPhone desktop.

It is a different experience with the two phones: one has an open OS (Android) and gives admin privileges to its users, while the other OS (iOS) is closed and extremely controlled – almost to the point where it starts to sound silly, as Killian Bell mentions in his article:

“Android has folders, too, but they’re not limited to just 12 apps. I’ve never understood why this is the case on iOS; having to make numerous folders because you have more than 12 games installed is just silly” (How I Fell Out Of Love With My iPhone 5 And Fell In Love With The Nexus 4).

In iOS folders, you can only have 12 apps; in Android folders, however, you can have more than twelve. At the moment, I have a game folder on my Galaxy S3 that has 14 games included. And, I still have room to add at least another two games on the current folder row (which makes the folder capable of holding at least 16 games). I’m sure there are other Android users who have more games than me; you may even have more games in one folder than me).

If you are an individual who wants to try an experience worth having, it doesn’t get any better than Android widgets. I doubt after you try them that you will be able to return to iOS the same user you were before.