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How to build your own Android widgets for a truly personalized homescreen

Derek Walter | Jan. 22, 2016
Embrace the spirit of Android by adding more style and functionality to your home screen with these apps.

android widgets
Credit: Derek Walter

If you’ve been using Android for a while, you’ve probably settled in on some favorite widgets. It's pretty nice to get live weather, sports, news, and other updates without hopping from one app to another. And in general, the most popular apps have good widgets that complement their services. It's a defining characteristic of Android and one of the best reasons to choose it over iPhone.

But sometimes you want more. There’s a way to take the customization you get with widgets even further by getting an app that lets you design your own widget from scratch. This gives you even more control over the look and content that is always at the ready on your home screen.

Here are four apps that get you on the road to widget customization. Soon enough you’ll have widgets that no one else has, which can give your home screen an even more personalized look.

Buzz Widget

If you’re looking for a good place to start, go with Buzz Widget. The app offers several templates that give you a good starting framework instead of overwhelming you with choices. You can select a widget with the weather and a clock,for example,  and then add in other extras.

buzz widgets
Buzz Widgets gives you tremendous control over various components of how the widgets look and perform.

Or if you’re truly brave you can design your own widget from scratch, mixing in different elements like the forecast, clocks, and images from your own gallery. Working with the interface is a little tedious—the need to open items from a folder and hit the Save button might make you feel like you’re back to working on a desktop.

But if you’re patient, you can come up with a truly unique creation that you’ll be proud to show off. If you enjoy Buzz, you may want to check out the Buzz Launcher to bring this same type of tweaking to the rest of your phone.

HD Widgets

If you want an attractive widget with minimal fuss, then HD Widgets is a great choice. Many of the options remind me of the HTC Sense interface, with an old-school alarm clock dominating the look.

hd widgets
HD Widgets is great if you like to have a large clock and the forecast at the top of your screen.

But there are a lot of other options, particularly in how the weather is displayed. The most powerful aspect of this app comes from the fact that you can assign a hot spot to the widget—when you touch it the widget in the assigned spot, it will launch an app you specify. This can free up some space on your home screen, as you’ll no longer need the app icon listed if all you need to do is touch the widget in order to launch your favorite weather app.


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