Back in the day, widgets seemed to be all on the rage on Android. They were popular to the point of being a reason to buy an Android device over an Apple one. Nowadays the hype seems to have died down. Even those that love customization, like myself, rarely use them anymore. Has the quality dropped, are they just not useful anymore or is there something else? Let’s find out!
Of course, one widget is still ever present – the manufacturer clock and weather one. It’s great to be able to see essential information such as the time and temperature at a glance. Yet, where have all the other good ones gone? Many apps don’t really offer actual widgets anymore – they are more akin to simple shortcuts. Even Google doesn’t seem to be putting a lot of effort into theirs. For example, the only Google Docs widget is a simple shortcut to create a new document – no option to have sheets or slides on one of your screens.
Lock screen widgets are also a thing of the past. Official support for them ended with the arrival of Lollipop when they were removed in favor of lock screen notifications. There still are third-party apps that offer them, but they are becoming rarer. Of course, biometrics and being able to unlock your phone much faster have also played a role in lock screen widgets losing popularity.
Launchers, on the other hand, offer so many customization options that many might not see the need to clutter their home screens with widgets. Besides, they are not exactly designed with uniformity and style in mind – making them clash with launcher themes.
Finally, there’s the developer side of things. A new initiative called Slices is already in the works. They are “UI templates that can display rich, dynamic, and interactive content from your app” and are apparently much easier to develop that widgets currently are. This could mean that the days of widgets are over, but they might be replaced with something much better.
Of course, we also want to know your opinion on the matter. Do you still use widgets? Do you find them useful? Why or why not? Let us know in our poll and in the comments below.
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