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Widgets are an indispensible part of Android for many users, including yours truly. It's just too bad that they're so ugly - who wants to use a 1080p screen for looking at Twitter feeds or checking emails when you could stare at some fantastic wallpaper instead? All joking aside, Popup Widget is a pretty fantastic solution for those who prefer their homescreens without clutter.

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It's a simple idea: instead of having a big, space-consuming widget sit there all the time, hide it in a shortcut. Tap the shortcut and the widget appears, then tap somewhere else so that it disappears. It's even possible for the shortcut to be invisible, which (combined with a custom launcher that supports hidden labels) makes the widget itself completely transparent. The only downside is an extra tap to get to your information...which you could probably do with a regular app shortcut anyway. Here's a pretty lengthy exploration of Popup Widget, currently featured on its Play Store description.

Popup Widget isn't technically a widget, it's placed as a shortcut, with the various options handled in a full app. (This means it should also work with any other app that triggers shortcuts.) It takes a bit of fiddling with the settings to get everything just as you like it, but customization nuts should feel pretty comfortable with all the options. One thing to note, there seems to be a bit of an issue with Nova Launcher at present; drag the blank widget from the app drawer to get it working.

Popup Widget is a reasonable $1.39 on the Play Store, and compatible with Android 2.2 or later.

Update: as one commenter points out, there's at least some functionality duplicated in Action Launcher (and several other apps and custom ROMs) but this app should work with any modern homescreen replacement. There's also an ad-supported version of the app here.

Thanks for the tip, Eduardo Ribeiro (@_ERib)!

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • http://youtube.com/user/CurelessSyn CurelessSynergy

    So it's basically like Action Launcher's shutter function.

    • Josh

      It looks exactly the same. I think the article should at mention this at the very least.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        You're right. It should and it will.

    • Mike

      Only that popup widget existed long before ActionLauncher came around the block. PopupWidget is from the creator of ssLauncher and more or less just a piece of ssLauncher broken out and extended.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I think Action Launcher is even more powerful because you can choose to start the app or the widget based on the gesture. But the benefit here is it works with any launcher, as far as I can tell, which is awesome.

      I did note down Action Launcher and the free version in our tracker, but it didn't make it into the story. I'll make sure it does.

      • Makru

        I use Popup widget in combination with Nova launchers ability to start a shortcut based on a gesture to achieve the exact same feature and this way I'm able to choose which widget to start on which app icon, which is not possible with the action laucnerh if I remember correctly.

        • David

          Yes, correct.
          Nova and Popup widget together can;'t really be beat imo. lol

    • David

      No, this is way better,

  • Ivsu
    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Sure does, it'll be added to the story.

  • codie

    kinda dumb, I might have missed something but why would you want a home screen replacement? I mean why not just use a widget? I don't want to have to click on a button to see the time or whatever, I'd rather just glance at it on my home screen. There is a Halo application by Paranoid Android that allows a Facebook chat circle halo to just sit a the corner of your screen and once you click it you can slide over and fetch an application and it will hover over your home screen good for multitasking I like it alot better than this.... . You can use it with any application on your phone also.

    • jmlares

      Press. Press is nice, but I like the headlines Widget more. The thing is, that the widget looks tacky.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I'm not sure what you're asking - why not use a widget itself instead of a button to bring it up? To save space on the homescreen, obviously. Some widgets are quite big, and you can only fit a couple or just one on the home screen. I use like 4-5 players, and the widgets for those are spread out all over. It's faster than opening the app itself.

    • jmlares

      It's like making an entire new app even.

    • David

      You completely miss the point. Wow. lol

  • xStagGx

    I love this app. It's perfect solution! Also it does not run in background/foreground, so it uses no resources!

  • Stephanie