What are the best android apps to save time and money?- Reader questions
Here is an email from an ABC reader:
I have never had a smart phone before, but I went ahead and pulled the trigger and bought that Republic Wireless phone you recommended because it was actually cheaper than my old fashioned phone I was using before. I figured out how to use it OK, because I am pretty good on computers and stuff, but I think it can do a lot more than I know how to make it do.
What I am asking is, what are the best android apps do I need to get to save time and money?
Good question, Stan. A lot of artofbeingcheap.com readers purchased the new Republic Wirelessphone after the review I wrote about the Moto X and the ridiculously cheap plans from Republic Wireless, so now is a great time to write an article on the apps and widgets you need to save time and money. But, there are too many apps to cover in just one article, so this is going to be a many part series. Let’s start by talking about the best smart phone tool that too many people don’t know how to use, widgets.
Apps and Widgets
It sounds like Stan has the apps figured out. Apps are the software you get to run all the programs you want to run on your Android phone. Android apps can be acquired through an app pre set up on your phone called Google Play Store.
What is less well known is widgets. Widgets are apps that can be set up to automatically put the information you want on your phone without you even having to click on an app. If you do click on an app, it will bring up the full app.
Installing a widget is easy. Click on the button to get to all or your apps at the bottom center of your screen.
When you see the screen with all your apps, look at the top of the screen and you will see two tabs, one for apps and one for widgets.
When you see click on the widgets tab you will see all of the possible widgets you can put on your phone. Click and hold the widget you want and you will be taken to the home screen of your phone. You can then drag your widget wherever you want it to be.
After you have placed your widget where you want it, you can set it up to automatically give you the information you want to see by clicking on it. Giving you exact directions on how to do this is not possible because it varies by the widget, but I find it’s not too hard to figure out with a little playing around.
Which widgets should you use?
This of course depends on what information you want to see immediately when you open your phone. Some of the most popular widgets in no particular order are:
1. Your favorite weather app can display the current temperature or forecast.
2. A large clock on your home screen that is easier to see than the small one in the right hand corner
3. Twitter updates
4. Facebook updates
5. Emails you have received
6. Events on your calendar
My favorite Widgets
Below is a picture of the widgets that I use. By the way, I don’t really have them all on one screen. I just did that temporarily to make taking a screenshot easier.
#1 is a Google Analytics widget that tells me how many people have read ABC today. That won’t be interesting to you unless you own a website. This does illustrate the point though that widgets can be personalized so you can get whatever information is interesting to you.
#2 is the weather channel app that always tells me what the current temperature and weather conditions are. If there is some kind of storm warning or other alert then it automatically alerts me. This is the widget I check first thing every morning.
#3 is the widget for my podcasting app, Beyondpod. I can start or stop my podcasts with a single click.
#4 is Google Keep, which I use for my to-do list. I put my grocery lists on here and make a quick note anytime I think of something I need to do later. I can then make the list scroll up and down to see what is left on my list.
#5. is the Google AdSense widget that tells me how much money ABC has made today. Again, you will only want this app if you own a website.
So that is how to use widgets to make your smart phone smarter. The next several articles will cover all the apps I use to save more time and money with my smart phone.