Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Android 2 - Desk Clock widget

The Desk Clock widget/app for Android 2.x series of phones is pretty awesome. It is a significant upgrade over the Clock utility provided with previous Android releases. Some of you may be wondering why The Indian Geek is reviewing the Desk Clock app/widget. Very simple – we just figured that the full functionality of this awesome App/Widget in Android may not be tapped by everyone, and we just wanted to let you folks know all the functions and features, so that you may extract the full use of the widget.

Before we begin, we’d like to clear the air by stating that this widget/app was reviewed on a Spice Mi-300, which was running CyanogenMod 6.1 This means that certain options/colours could differ from your phone, if your phone has not been hacked into running CyanogenMod. We do not recommend or suggest that you hack your phone into CyanogenMod; please don’t. Now that we’ve got such cautionary notes out of the way, let’s get on with the review.

Look and Feel

Android 2 - Desk Clock Alarms

The app can be accessed by tapping the Clock widget from the homescreen (if you’ve placed the widget on a homescreen on your phone) or by accessing the Clock icon from the App drawer on your phone. The App looks very simple and clean. Nothing too fancy, nothing very jaw-dropping, as you can see from the screenshots. As soon as you enter the App, you see an option to create/set a new alarm, the list of alarms that are currently configured – both active and non-active alarms are displayed – and a ‘bar’ at the bottom displaying the time, and a clock icon to the left. We wouldn’t give this App a design award definitely, but there’s nothing bad that we can say about its design, either. It’s a very simple, black and white, no-frills design that is definitely pleasing to the eyes.

Android 2 - Desk Clock Active Alarm

All the information related to alarms is accessible right from this screen; if you observe the screenshot above, every alarm in the list displays the days when it has been configured to repeat, the name of the alarm, if set (in the above screenshot, the first alarm doesn’t have a name, but the second alarm is titled “Church” and is set for 9.00 am on Sundays), and the time of the alarm. When you tap an alarm in the list, it becomes active – this status is indicated by the green bar below the clock icon to the left of the alarm. A very small but useful feature is that when the alarm is enabled, there’s a pop-up (as displayed in the screenshot above) which tells you exactly how many hours/days are left for the alarm to go off.

General Usage

In day-to-day usage, the App/Widget works very much like a standard Alarm clock, with a few extra niceties that you may just end up adoring. Let’s run through the process of setting up and configuring an Alarm using this app/widget.

Android 2 - Desk Clock New Alarm

When you tap the New Alarm option in the main screen of the app, you get the screen displayed above. Very easily, you would need to set the time of the new alarm that you are creating. Then tap Set.

Android 2 - Desk Clock Alarm settings

A list of options is displayed next. These have various configurable settings, such as the ringtone with which the alarm should wake you up, the label for this alarm, whether this alarm should be repeated on particular days, etc. When all the options have been configured, tap Done.

 

That’s it. You’re all set to be woken up when exactly you need to woken up. If that’s all there was to this App, we definitely wouldn’t have reviewed it. The tipping factor in getting us to review this App was the Desk Clock function. From the homescreen of the Clock app, tapping the clock icon at the bottom-left of the screen takes us to a whole new world. See the screenshot below.

Android 2 - Desk Clock mode

Your phone is instantly converted into one of those nice little desk clocks! You have the alarm time and day at the top-left corner, an icon to dim the screen entirely (and conserve battery during the night) at the top-right corner, the time in big bold contrasting letters below those, the date, the weather in your current location (without enabling GPS; this pulls data from either the cellular towers or the Internet – not sure which, though) which includes current temperature, and the forecast maximum and minimum temperatures for the day. The bottom row has four icons which are (from the left) – Alarm, Pictures, Music, Home. The Alarm icon takes you back to the view of listing all your Alarms. The Pictures icon starts a slideshow of images from your gallery; the Music icon takes you to the default Music app from which you can play songs, and the Home icon takes you to the homescreen of your phone. By the way, we felt we should mention that that crazy red and green background for the Desk Clock view mode isn’t a default – it’s our homescreen wallpaper, which is actually the image we created for our geeky Christmas wish.

The idea behind this is, you setup an alarm, and when you’re going to bed at night, you switch to this Desk Clock mode, and leave your phone docked or propped up, making it very much like a Desk Clock. In the morning, after the alarm goes off, you can happily start off either a slideshow of your pictures, begin the day with some music, or access the homescreen of your phone to catch up on the daily news, e-mail and whatever else you use your phone for. This Desk Clock functionality is what makes this App a killer App. Atleast, in our opinion. Of course, most of us would like to use this in a landscape view mode instead of the default portrait mode. And Google gets that. That’s why the Clock app has a seamlessly-switching landscape mode, as indicated by our screenshot below.

Android 2 - Desk Clock Landscape mode

If you’re worried about battery usage during the night while this App is displaying this screen – stop worrying. Like we mentioned earlier, there’s that brightness icon at the top-right which can be tapped to switch off the brightness of the screen. You can view a screenshot of this below.

Android 2 - Desk Clock Landscape night mode

This mode dims the background almost entirely, leaving huge white text onscreen, which is very readable.

Final thoughts

The person writing this article generally finds it difficult to wake up at certain times and dates. And usually, most alarms fail in waking him up. But the simple beep-beep-beep alarm configured using this App was enough to jolt him out of sleep. We felt we had to mention that, since we can get lost in the awesome Desk Clock functionality and the various configuration options available in the App, that we forget what this App was actually made for – waking someone up. And it does that wonderfully. There may be apps out there which have more functionality (we seriously can’t imagine how!) but for a stock Android clock widget and App, this has killer functionality. Especially if you look at the sheer simplicity and awesomeness of the Desk Clock mode.

This is a great app, and we hope that all of you would start (if not already) using the full functionality of this App.

Note : This app is available by default only for Android phones running 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3

2 comments:

Shruthi Kanna said...

Hello friends, excellent mobile app for shopping- Enjoy Blackberry and Android  Users
I have been using MintM mobile app for my shopping and was quite impressed. Thought of sharing with you guys. Freely available at


Free download URL : mintmapp.com/mobile 

 

Madhu Sinha said...

hello friends,
Just came across an excellent mobile application !!!

I have been using MintM mobile app for my shopping and was quite impressed. We can find shopping list with the relevant discounts& offers of the shops which we are entering in.

Free download URL : www.mintmapp.com/mobile
 
This application REWARDS FOR WINDOW SHOPPING TOO ....... :)This application reached top 16th rank in Google play especially in free shopping category....
 

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