Android Community App of the Week: Android Pro Widgets

Every week we like to slow things down a little to highlight an app that’s proven itself to be useful, fun, or just plain cool. There’s plenty of new stuff coming out that’ll rock your socks, like the sweet 3D New Year Live Wallpaper, but the App of the Week is our way to show off some of the lesser-known apps that deserve your attention. This week, it’s social and PIM widget collection extraordinaire, Android Pro Widgets.

Android Pro Widgets is exactly what it sounds like: a large collection of widgets for your homescreen. APW caught my eye specifically for its Twitter widget – it’s surprisingly hard to find a robust, scrolling Twitter feed widget for Android. APW filled that need for me nicely once I left the sadly stagnant LauncherPro (which hasn’t seen an update in over six months – what gives, Mr. Carnales?) with the added benefit of a combined Twitter/Facebook widget named “Timeline”. It’s the best option for social updates on your home screen that I’ve tried, and trust me, I’ve tried a lot.

But that’s hardly all you get with Android Pro Widgets. Calendar, contacts, bookmarks, SMS, individual Facebook and Twitter widgets, and a Google Reader notifier are all included, plus a quick Calendar event add function. It’s a marvelous variety of useful heads-up information that should suit almost everyone’s needs. It’s equally at home on Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich, scrolling through lists of information (often tricky on widgets) is smooth and simple, and it plays nice with every launcher I’ve tried it with. Add to that a full theme engine with plenty of free options on the Android Market, and APW is one of the most comprehensive and complete widget suites available.

There are a couple of downsides. The app uses an annoying timed demo, and you have to keep the separate unlock key app installed on your phone to use it past the expiration date. Also (and this is admittedly nit-picking a bit) the app icon is just plain ugly. What is that? A badly-drawn smiley face? An inexplicably green cartoon nose? In any case, the $2.49 entry fee is a small price to pay for an incredible amount of functionality. Try out the free preview app, then purchase the key to keep it – you won’t be disappointed.

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