Ah, the renowned HTC flip clock. They’ve been using it since 2008 or so, back when they were exclusively making Windows Mobile devices (remember those?). The distinctive, elegant design is probably responsible for many purchases by late adopters who didn’t care for the iPhone at the time and just wanted a ‘smartphone’ with a nice interface and pretty graphics. Or maybe they just wanted that beautiful clock, which came fully animated on higher-end TouchFlo 3D devices. HTC continues to use this design on their latest Android phones; you’ll still see it in almost every product promo shot.
But what if you don’t have or want an HTC Android phone, but still want that nice looking flip clock, perhaps with a weather icon?
You get one of the dozens of apps, of course. Search for “flip clock” or “sense clock” on the Android market, and you’ll find many freebies ranging from poorly designed ripoffs to moderately similar copies.
But what if you want something more? What if you want something that not only will give you a Sense-like flip clock and weather, but also weather animations? And a built-in weather forecast app with support for both Accuweather and Google Weather support? What if they offered many other features, like flexible clock, weather, and battery widgets along with some extra system switch widgets? What if it were totally skinnable, with hundreds of freely available skins that can be downloaded easily from within the app?
For all that, you drop about $2 on Beautiful Widgets. Here is our review.
At its most fundamental level, BW gives you what you want – a 4×2 widget that looks close enough to HTC Sense, with a matching weather icon and animated weather graphics (which are accessible after you install a separate package). But it goes so much deeper than that. First of all, there are several sizes available, and can include either a clock, the weather, or both.
The introduction of the “Super Clock” brought on a ton of flexibility. It is available in three sizes (4×2, 4×1, 2×1) and each size can be rearranged. For instance, you can have the weather icon in the corner instead of the bottom center, or you can replace it completely with a battery icon instead.
With this amount of flexibility, you can get the exact look you want. And of course there are dozens (if not hundreds) of skins available, for the clock, weather, and battery icons individually. You can mix and match to get just the look you want, including some that look even closer to HTC’s own clock.
Here is a quick example of a home page one might use, using only Beautiful Widgets:
That’s a 4×1 Super Clock, with the default battery skin, a 5 day weather forecast below, and some of the toggle widgets available (there are 12 in total). This should give you an idea of just how flexible this app is.
For $2, Beautiful Widgets is an absolute must have, even if you already use a phone with HTC Sense. For instance, I use an HTC Desire HD, and prefer the combination of LauncherPro and Beautiful Widgets over Sense itself. This combination is lighter and far more flexible than HTC’s own software.
Get the HCW Skin!
As mentioned, you can use any combination of clock/weather/battery skins to get the look you want. I have designed a skin which suits my own liking, based on a very minimal look using the beautiful Segoe UI font by Microsoft. You can grab it from within the app itself; I recommend using it along with a flat white weather skin, such as “simplesolid”. Here’s what the skin looks like on a pure black background:
It’s been downloaded almost 70,000 times, including the Standard Skin version. Enjoy!
For more info on this software and its developer, please visit the official Beautiful Widgets site. They have a gallery with a lot more screenshots, and a video of the app in action. There are also resources for skin developers.