Think for a moment about how many accounts you have in different websites. Each of these services have, at least, your name, email address and password. It’s even worse when you are
ESET Mobile Security is a feature rich mobile anti-virus solution that has you covered in just about any mobile security related scenario your imagination can concoct. *For the purpose of
Overview Hola Launcher is a robust and feature-rich Android home-screen app and launcher with a plethora of content, all for free. Hola Launcher offers free themes and icons, wallpapers, add-on applications
Overview – Guide multi-colored cuties on rails to their respective destinations using simple, tap-based controls in this deceptively challenging little game. Developer: QuikFun Games Price: Free (w/in-app purchases, ads) Highlights: Extremely
Overview – This shortcut app lacks the features to set it apart from the countless other shortcut apps out there, but at the same time, it does what it sets
Since downloading the game, you know that =Twenty will be completely focused around math. The goal of the game is simple: you have to connect numbers in a board so
Finding widgets that work with one theme can be hard. Finding widgets that work with them all is next to impossible.
Android has hundreds of thousands of widgets out there for you to try out, to say nothing of all the widgets you can make yourself through customization apps. But more than looking nice, widgets need to work. They have to earn their keep on my home screen, or they’ll be deleted and replaced with something I actually use. Now, not all apps have customizable widgets, and no matter how good some of those widgets are (like Google Keep), if they don’t play well with themes, then I can’t count on them when it come time to dress up my home screen.
And if you have widgets that are team players when you theme, sing out in the comments below! We’re always on the lookout for a few good widgets.
1Weather is a beautiful weather app with an equally beautiful selection of widgets. Big, small, simple or detailed, 1Weather has a weather widget for your theme. What makes these widgets even more handy for the themer is that these widgets have customizable color schemes.
You can have a completely transparent background for the widget, or set a variable tint of white/black for the background. Besides choosing white/black text, we also have our pick of over a dozen accent colors for your widget. The accent color means that rather than having just another monotone widget, that pop of color can help the widget mesh better with your theme’s color scheme.
1Weather (Free, $1.99)
Jack’s Music Widget
I’ve been singing the praises of Jack’s Music Widget for quite a while, and for a few very good reasons, the first of them being that it’s damn good widget on a functional level. Jack’s will not only give you music control in your preferred music app (well, most of them, anyway) through its notification, but it’ll also give playback controls while casting video from apps like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, which is excellent for heavy Chromecast users (like me). You can also set a default music player to hop into when you tap the widget, but if you switch between your favorites like I do, you can leave it at None and have music controls without the app shortcut.
Jack’s true talent comes from its ability to blend in with almost any theme I throw at it. Jack’s features five different styles for it’s themes, including the ability to determine the widget style based off the album art it pulls in. Clear and Translucent are the styles I gravitate towards in my theming, but backing Dark and Light available can help in a pinch with especially busy wallpapers. You can also change the text size, though not the color, so that the song info looks natural in the widget.
Download Jack’s Music Widget (Free, $1.99)
If you’re going to be building complex themes, pre-made widgets likely won’t cut it. Thankfully, we can make our own with a small class of widget apps known as what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) widget editors. And while Kustom’s live wallpaper maker is more powerful that its widget maker, KWGT is without a doubt one of the best widget-making apps out there right now.
Read more: KWGT, explained
KWGT allows you to build apps from scratch, import them from other users, or buy templates off the Play Store and play with them to our heart’s content. What sets KWGT apart from similar apps like Zooper are Globals and Komponents. Globals allow you to change one variable and have it reflected across several items in your widget, such as changing your font once for a dozen different text layers, or changing one color Global for several different shapes.
Komponents are like miniature widgets that you can build and then export to be used in other widgets. Komponents can be packaged and sold on the Google Play Store, like this beautiful Material Music Komponent, a music player widget that you can add to a blank widget, change your colors, and set without having to futz with the individual control icons. Komponents can be a little difficult to grasp at first, but luckily, KWGT has a vibrant community and a very active dev ready to help new users.
Download KWGT (Free, $.299)
Twitter clients are a dime a dozen, but twitter clients with sweet widgets are a bit more rare, as I found out while looking for a Twitter widget that wouldn’t just clash with every theme I threw it into. I found my answer in Talon, which has become my main Twitter app now. Talon is a twitter app that’s all about customization, and that extends to its widgets. You’re given four styles for Talon’s widgets to use, solid light and dark themes as well as transparent light and dark themes. Dark transparent plays well with a great many other widgets, making it a welcome addition to my home screen and my theming arsenal.
Talon for Twitter ($3.99)
I don’t always have toggle widgets on my home screen, but when I do, I use HD Widgets. HD Widgets are a great widget tool, especially for users who may not be used to more robust widget-making apps like KWGT. You select the size, style and colors for your widget through a wonderfully simple selection process, and you have a wide variety of setting toggles and clock styles to choose from.
Toggle widgets aren’t as necessary as they were in past years due to the Quick Settings tray above notification on more devices, especially stock devices, but if you want one handy on the home screen, HD Widgets works well. On a small note, HD Widgets hasn’t been updated in over a year, so while things are working well now, it’s unclear how quickly any future bugs or issues will be fixed.
HD Widgets ($0.99)
Zooper, like KWGT, is an app where you can build your own app or play with someone else’s. Some people find Zooper’s interface easier to deal with than KWGT, and to be sure they both have their strengths and weaknesses, but Zooper ranks below KWGT in my book for a big reason: it does not appear to be in active development. Zooper hasn’t seen an update in almost a year, and while nothing’s broken (yet) and a great many themers are still actively using and sharing their Zooper Widgets with the world, it’s still a red flag to see an app go this long without attention, especially as this app hasn’t been updated to bring it in line with Marshmallow’s permissions or with Doze.
Zooper’s a good widget app, and if KWGT just isn’t your speed, it may be perfect for you, but keep in mind that if something breaks in the app, it may be a while before it’s fixed.
Download Zooper Widget (Free, $2.99)
Action Launcher’s Quickbar
Action Launcher as a theming launcher is quite good, and one of the best things it offers for me is the Quickbar. Because of Quicktheme, you can tint your Quickbar to match your theme, giving it a quick and usually painless way to get a Google Search bar that matches your theme.
Even better, the Quickbar can be tailored to your unique interests. Want shortcuts to your social media apps? Knock yourself out. Want your sports apps in there instead? Go ahead. The Quickbar does mean you’re giving up the top of your screen to it, and of course means that you’re using Action Launcher, but if you’re gonna use a search widget, Quickbar is one of the easiest to theme out there.
Download Action Launcher (Free, $4.99)
Google’s Inbox by Gmail email client is adding some more options for its Snooze feature. They are designed to give users some more flexibility on when they want to be reminded to take action on a specific email.
First, Snooze is getting two highly-requested snooze times: Later this week and This weekend. These new options should hopefully save you some time, and decrease the need to use custom snooze.
The second new Snooze option now allows users to pick the specific weekend days. The options include picking only Friday, Saturday or Sunday but it also allows users to select Snooze to work from Thursday to Friday, Friday to Saturday or Saturday to Sunday. The company says:
This feature is especially useful for people living who live in places where the weekend spans different days of the week.
The update should be available for all Inbox users over the next week in the Google Play Store
With Mobile World Congress done and dusted, it’s time to take stock of what we’ve seen over the past week. Sure, we were treated to the usual menagerie of mobile devices, but for the second year running, virtual reality played a big part of the proceedings. Here’s our official scorecard for the new, not-actually-that-mobile part of Mobile World Congress.
Samsung has a complete VR solution
Many were doubtful when Samsung first unveiled its Gear VR headset in 2014. Doubtful that mobile VR would ever amount to anything, and doubtful that Samsung was the company to make it happen. Two years on, and the device is now a consumer-ready product, compatible with all of Samsung’s recent high-end phones. And that was the first VR win for Samsung at MWC. No, not forcing hundreds of people to wear its VR headset; it was the fact that its new flagships (the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge) are both compatible with the Gear VR. That means its most fervent fans don’t need to buy yet another Gear; they can just slot in their new phone. A full six devices are compatible with the VR headset.
Samsung partnered with Oculus on the development of the Gear VR, and that’s made for a richer mobile VR experience than you can find elsewhere. Highly rated games like Land’s End and Gunjack make extensive use of developer APIs created by Samsung and Oculus, and because of this they’re exclusive to the platform.
At MWC this year, Samsung unveiled yet another piece of the puzzle: the Gear 360. It’s a 360-degree video camera that syncs with the company’s latest flagships to make shooting and editing VR-ready video way easier than it’s been before. There are still questions regarding the price, but we expect it to be fairly cheap. And that makes Samsung, against all odds, perhaps the only company with an end-to-end VR solution. It’s got the APIs for developers to create games, apps and experiences; it’s got a 360-degree video camera for users to create their own content; and, of course, it’s got the VR headset to jump into.
Score: 360 gears.
HTC is ready to go
Sure, HTC is a mobile company at heart, but the Vive has very little to do with mobile. It requires just as powerful a PC as the Oculus Rift does, after all. Nonetheless, HTC was at Mobile World Congress in force showing off the headset along with a few refreshed demos. The biggest news of HTC’s show, though, was the price of the consumer edition: $799.
That seems like a lot of money, but you’re getting a little more for that than you would with the $599 Oculus Rift. The Vive comes with sensors that offer full-body tracking, and a front-facing camera. HTC and Valve have also developed a Chaperone system that allows you to stay connected with the world around you. It does this by tracking your body’s position and also adding information from a front-facing camera over your virtual view. The final added feature is Vive Phone Services, which lets you receive and respond to calls and messages from your smartphone without taking off the headset.
Whether you think that’s worth the extra $200 over the Oculus is really going to come down to which vision you believe in. Oculus, for now, is offering a mostly seated VR experience, while Valve and HTC think VR should mean standing up and moving around.
Score: 799 dollars.
LG is still figuring things out
Last year saw a tentative entrance to VR for LG in the form of a plastic version of Google Cardboard. This year, it’s gone all out with a dedicated headset (part of its “Friends” accessory range) that plugs into the LG G5. Called the 360 VR, it promises to be more comfortable than other headsets, thanks largely to the reduced weight and bulk. But it doesn’t really do anything more than put your phone into that Google Cardboard you got with The New York Times. When the most memorable part of your onstage pitch is that “this won’t mess up your hair,” you probably don’t have that compelling a product.
LG has a 360-degree camera too: the 360 Cam. It’s pretty similar to Samsung’s take, with two wide-angle cameras combining to give the full field of view required. Unlike Samsung’s, there’s no live view via a phone, but other than that it seems like a capable tool. And that’s kind of emblematic of LG’s efforts in VR (and arguably at MWC in general): It’s pushing out lots and lots of products, but without much thought as to how to improve on their competitors.
Score: 5 friends.
And the rest …
Putting aside the litany of no-name manufacturers filling empty conference hall space with their derivative VR efforts, there were actually a few interesting developments away from Mobile World Congress’ “big three.” Dolby had a strong presence showing off 3D audio. Although we’d seen it all before, it’s interesting to see it shopping its wares at a mobile conference. And there were also signs of VR further penetrating the industry: Alcatel OneTouch, for example, debuted a new handset, the Idol 4. While it looks like a great budget smartphone in its own right, what’s truly interesting is … its packaging. The Idol 4’s box is a plastic affair that, when re-assembled, turns into a sturdy version of Google Cardboard.
Score: 1 touch.
The never-ending Apple vs. Samsung patent wars just had another chapter written today, long after most of us stopped caring. A US appeals court overturned the $120 million jury-appointed verdict that was awarded to Apple way back in May of 2014. Specifically, the court said that a variety of older Samsung phones (including the Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, a host of Galaxy S II variants and the Galaxy S3) didn’t infringe upon three Apple patents. The patents in question covered swipe to unlock, auto-correct and a quick link feature that lets links in one app open up another app.
As noted by Reuters, the quick link feature made up $99 million of the $120 million in damages awarded to Apple — the jury decided that all 10 Samsung devices in question infringed upon that particular feature. But today’s ruling by a three-judge panel in the Federal Circuit disagreed on that point and vacated the jury’s decision. Specifically, the panel ruled that Samsung didn’t infringe on Apple’s quick links patent and also decided that its “swipe to unlock” and autocorrect patents were invalid based on prior art.
It’s worth noting that the larger decision Apple prevailed on in 2012 isn’t affected by today’s ruling. A separate jury awarded nearly $1 billion in damages to Apple, though eventually that number was cut back to $548 million through a number of appeals. Last summer, a court decision denied Samsung’s request for reconsideration.
Source: United States Court of Appeals (PDF)