Android App of the Week: UCCW

If you’re into theming your android device, you will probably know about UCCW. It used to be called “Ultimate Custom Clock Widget”, but as the functionality has expanded, they’ve dropped the “Clock”, but not the corresponding “C” in “UCCW” – but I digress. UCCW is not actually a “widget” at all, but a framework for creating your own widgets. It allows you to create and edit widgets right on your phone, as well as to import skins that other people have made. You can now even download skins from the Play store. An example of what can be done with UCCW is in the screenshot to the right. The top widget is UCCW, and the skin can be downloaded here.

With UCCW, you can create widgets that show the time (as digits, words or analog); date (including days of the week bars); battery status; weather conditions; counts for undread gmail and sms and missed calls; and hotspots to launch apps. The editor is a little tricky to get used to, but the UI is quite clever in terms of providing maximum editing flexibility on a small screen device. To start creating a widget, you just drag the size of widget you want to the relevant home screen. UCCW provides a large number of different sized widgets, so you should be able to find something that works for your needs. Then tap on the created widget and you’ll be taken to the UCCW editing screen.

The editing screen is simple to understand, and operate. A live preview of your widget is displayed in the top third of the editing screen. To add an element to your widget, click on the +/- icon at the top, and choose the element(s) to add from the menu. Once you’ve added an element to your widget, you can tweak its parameters by choosing the element from the select object menu. This will bring up all the parameters that can be tweaked below the preview window. With most objects you can tweak a huge number of parameters – size, position, angle, colour, fonts (for text elements), text alignment, shadows … The ability to tweak the appearance of your widget is almost limitless so this is a fantastic outlet for artistically minded geeks.

The options for displaying weather information are reasonably comprehensive. As part of the general settings, you can specify a location for all weather widgets, or use your current location. One possible drawback is that you don’t seem to be able to set location on a per widget basis. You can also include forecast information for today and tomorrow, as well as various data for current conditions.

One of the things I find a little frustrating with the widget, is the lack of support for a wider range of “unread/missed” counts. UCCW will tell you how many unread gmail messages you have, but not for the generic mail client. I use my phone for work and sync it with our work exchange server, but I can’t display the number of unread emails I have on my exchange account, or my home imap mail account for that matter. Hopefully the developer will add this functionality in the future. One other gripe is that you can’t zoom into a widget to view smaller elements in detail. Again, maybe this can be added.


Some Examples


UCCW is definitely worth downloading if you’re into theming. Explore other peoples skins on the Play Store, and there are plenty more to be found in the xda-developers forums, or explore your creative side and make your own.