So here is a list, in no particular order, of five applications/widgets available for free on the Andriod Market that everyone should have downloaded (if they don’t already) on their android smartphone. If there are other applications that you feel are vital to the operation of your android smartphone, please feel free to comment below and just maybe you’ll make someone very happy for providing them an application treasure trove.

1. Widgetsoid (2.x)

This app lets the user create customizable widgets that looks like the “Power Control” widget that the android phone already has. What is particularly awesome about this app is that you can change the color schemes, use any of your apps, settings, and other tools as buttons (against Power Control’s GPS, WiFi, BT, Sync, Brightness buttons only and without any customizations). This widget creator allows users to modify the buttons to control silence/vibrate/ring, or use the phone’s flash as a flashlight on command, or the amount of RAM your phone is using, or even a battery widget that takes you directly to your phone’s battery usage. This widget simply has it all and is a great starting point to customizing your smartphone with a sleek and organized design.

2. Fancy Widget

This widget, when placed on your home screen, displays a digital clock, the date, battery percentage, and most importantly the weather (with a temperature gauge, his and lows of the day, and a weather icon) in a “fancy” looking interface. You can tap the time to bring up the customizable settings or you can tap the weather icon that will immediately bring up a screen that forecasts the next three days, gives you sunrise and sunset times for the current date, and even humidity and wind calculations for the current date. You can even change the color combinations and the location of all the information displayed. Essentially, this widget not only looks cool on your phone, but is also a productive tool to keep you informed of the weather situation in your locale.

3. PdaNet

As my absolute favorite app, PdaNet allows the user to tether their phone to a computer, laptop, tablet, etc. and use the phone’s 3G/4G service to browse the internet on the computer. Although the critics may say, “but most android smartphones already have USB enabled tethering”, this app also pops up incoming text messages on your laptop that allows the user to directly answer from their computer rather than picking up the phone to respond. The only thing with this app is that you must go on PdaNet’s website and download the software for the computer you plan to tether to. This app is particularly useful when you want to peruse your favorite websites (like Blast!) on trains and other public transit systems or anywhere else you can imagine that doesn’t supply free and secure WiFi. Once that’s done, all you have to worry about is going over your service provider’s data plan.

4. Handcent SMS

There are a lot of messaging service applications out there, but I like Handcent the best for its reliability and customizability. This app lets the user completely customize their text message interface, from icons to fonts, to LED color notifications on the front of most android phones. If you are like every other person who has went through high school with text messaging, then you’ll want an app that allows you to pick color schemes, backgrounds, appearance settings and so on. If you haven’t tried this app yet, give it a whirl and maybe you’ll experience some more pleasure in text messaging.

5. Lookout Mobile Security

This app offers spyware and malware protection, backup to their website (after creating an account on the website) and it offers a missing device service. If you lose your phone in between the cushions or leave it behind, you can go on that same website where your backup rests and make your phone ring, even if it’s on silent, so that you can find it in no time. If you regularly keep your GPS enabled, you can also get a GPS location on your device through the website. If someone has the sleight of hand to steal your phone, then this app may bring you back to your long lost android smartphone and catch a thief in the process. What an app.

Honorable Mention: Launcher Pro

This last one replaces the standard android home screen functions and replaces it with a similar, but customizable user interface. Launcher Pro also has a variety of new icons, a bottom app bar, color customizations, backup, and a customizable app drawer. This app may offer a smoother experience for some users in comparison to some of the others (like Dolphin Browser or even the stock android Launcher), but as these smartphones become more power (Dual-Core, Snapdragon processors), the less smoothness will be noticeable between the different platforms.

About The Author

Scott Covit is a Blast correspondent

2 Responses

  1. BoughtMyiPhoneIn2007

    I can go along with some of your picks, but here are my personal choices.:

    1. ‘Widgetsoid’ is OK, if you happen to like the styles available. But if you don’t have a good homescreen set-up, then what’s the point of having better widgets? I’d start by installing ‘Launcher Pro Plus’…you even get more screens to use and some neat native widgets with a unified theme.

    2. ‘Beautiful Widgets’ > ‘Fancy Widgets’ (It’s not even close.)

    3. ‘Awesome Drop’ is something every Android owner needs. Never again worry about where the USB cord is; forget about slow over-air transfers. (

    4. ‘Chomp’ > ‘Handcent SMS’ I find it faster and smoother, tho I used to prefer Handcent. Those two teams have a neat little competitive thing going.

    5. ‘Lookout Mobile Security’ FTW 🙂


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