Maximizing Your Android Home Screen: Using Less Widgets to Access More Apps

The widget is, in my opinion, one of the most useful features of the Android phone or tablet. Having a widget on your home screen gives you all the basic information you need for a specific app without actually opening the app. The problem is, most widgets are either too small or take up a ton of space on the home screen.

What we are going to talk about today is a solution to gain access to more applications using less widgets. This way you’ll have more space on your home screen to do whatever you like. Previously we talked about making a custom widget which might be an option for some people but the options below are less technical and more suitable for everybody.

App Space is a fun widget. It’s almost like a background image as well as a functional 4×4 widget. App Space isn’t currently supported on tablets bigger than 7”. The reason App Space is a little different than a lot of the other widgets out there is it’s a pre-made image. On the image are items like a radio and these items are hotspots. Once you assign a application to that hotspot, what we need to do is tap on the radio to start Pandora or whichever application you chose.

app-space

The different styles of backgrounds lend themselves to different personality types. The backgrounds are geared towards a younger crowd. App Space comes with one free background, the others are $0.99 each. Once you select a specific background, you’ll see a list of all of the clickable items. For example on the default image there’s the calculator, phone, magazines, keyboard, camera and lots of others. All of these items can be a shortcut to whichever application you like.

Just remember to associate an app to an item in the widget that makes sense. You might not want to have the phone item activate Dropbox or something.

App Space

Elixir comes with 21 different widgets. The widgets are described a little bit differently than how a typical widget is described. Normally, a widget size is described as how many places tall and wide it takes up (e.g. 3×2). Elixir has the same style description as well as the number of rows and icons sitting in each row. This second description is a little better for our uses. This is because the icons are actually shrunk down and more than fit in a smaller space.

widgets-elixr-2

When you choose a style widget, you’ll then have to choose what you want in the widget. If you choose to add application icons, those are available. You also have lots of other shortcuts such as battery voltage, CPU usage, running applications, email unread count, Wi-Fi link speed, NFC toggle , etc. to choose from.

All of these shortcuts may have their own individual pre-installed Android widget on your phone without Elixir, but having a single widget with access to all of these apps and settings makes life a lot easier.

Elixir also offers some basic customization. For example you can change the background color or transparency so it looks less like something that’s out of place in your screen.

Elixir 2

Widgets are really a great way to utilize space on the home screen. These Android widgets are only a couple of the choices out there. It’s nice that they are more customizable than other options in the Google Play Store, yet are not too complicated to use.

Do you prefer individual widgets or ones like we talked about today?