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Switchpro Widget: A Passel of Pretty Little Toggles

By Patrick Nelson LinuxInsider ECT News Network
Aug 31, 2012 5:00 AM PT

Switchpro Widget: A Passel of Pretty Little Toggles

SwitchPro Widget, an app from Droid Shogun, is available for US$0.99 at Google Play. If you're a regular reader of this column, you may remember that I recently took a look at Cloud TV's HD Widgets, an app for creating your own elegant, translucent widgets to replace ugly stock widgets that appear to permeate today's Android phones -- Motorola, I'm referring to you mainly.

I've had a few months of sybaritic graphic enjoyment from HD Widgets' glassy, elegant switches, and in particular its HTC Sense-like clock installed on my Motorola Photon.

However, I recently stumbled across SwitchPro.

SwitchPro allows you to create similar looking pretty, translucent switches and widgets; however, its feature set is slightly different -- it includes some unique toggles.

Data Switch, Rebooting

First, a data connection switch actually toggles the 3G radio off and on, instead of, as is the case with HD Widgets, simply opening the Android-native mobile network settings screen where you then have to check or uncheck 3G or data options.

Second, rooted users -- and I've written about rooting before -- are presented with a reboot switch in SwitchPro. Press the simple switch and the device reboots.

Power users can use this switch to refresh the device, or boot into recovery or bootloader.

I'm using it a lot. I find it much quicker to just press the reboot switch rather than peer at the phone, locate the hardware power button, allow the device to power down, verify it has powered down, and then locate the power switch again and power up.

I'm using the reboot switch in lieu of a task killer now too. Why not? Perform one switch press, just like Advanced Task Killer, and I kill everything. No question whether I caught every running task.

Non-LED Flashlight

Another unique toggle is a flashlight switch, which in my case didn't utilize the camera flash LED as I expected, it just created a white screen -- good enough if you ever find the LED-as-flashlight troublesome.

I find Android Play Store app Picolyl's LED Light shuts down the older Motorola Photon after a few minutes -- it's not, in fact, supported on that phone, according to Picolyl.

Other Notable Toggles

Other, neat toggles include an Unlock Pattern control, and a Mount Storage toggle -- super useful for locating on a home screen if you want to prepare or unmount your SD card safely.

switchpro widget

I usually can't be bothered to do this properly. In native Android, you need to open screens to get to the card-mount options. This SwitchPro feature may now save me from possible future corrupted data.

Rounding out the available toggles: WiFi; Bluetooth; Brightness; GPS; Auto-sync; Auto-Rotate; Screen Always On; Airplane Mode; Reload SD; Vibration/Silent; 3G-2G shortcut; Battery; Speaker Mode; Auto-Screen Lock; 4G (tested by the developer on the HTC EVO only); WiFi Hotspot; USB Tether; Lock Screen; WiFi Sleep Policy; Volume; and Task Manager.

Look and Feel

Icon colors and switch background colors can be infinitely adjusted within the 216 hexadecimal color palette range -- that's using the color code that comprises a series of six letters and numbers: For example, hex code #FFFFFF representing white.

Switch customizing did not allow for multiple adjustments to opacity, but I didn't find this a problem. SwitchPro's designer had chosen a sound, readable opacity level for the translucent option that will work fine on all densities of wallpaper.

Indicator -- that's the strip within the switch that tells you if the switch is on or off -- colors can be customized, as can the divider.

In Conclusion

Overall, I've enjoyed creating and, more importantly, looking at SwitchPro toggles. While it doesn't have the entire HTC Sense look and feel -- as HD Widgets does, with its Sense clocks and weather icons -- SwitchPro looks good, is visually stimulating, and has some uniquely functional toggles.

The reboot toggle alone makes it a keeper.

Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication Producer Report and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School and wrote the cult-classic novel Sprawlism. His introduction to technology was as a nomadic talent scout in the eighties, where regular scrabbling around under hotel room beds was necessary to connect modems with alligator clips to hotel telephone wiring to get a fax out. He tasted down and dirty technology, and never looked back.

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How do you feel about accidents that occur when self-driving vehicles are being tested?
Self-driving vehicles should be banned -- one death is one too many.
Autonomous vehicles could save thousands of lives -- the tests should continue.
Companies with bad safety records should have to stop testing.
Accidents happen -- we should investigate and learn from them.
The tests are pointless -- most people will never trust software and sensors.
Most injuries and fatalities in self-driving auto tests are due to human error.