New Android widgets measure real-time mobile data use

One of my favorite features in Google(s goog) Android 4.0 on my Galaxy Nexus is the real-time and historical data use. I can monitor my mobile broadband usage against my monthly plan and even drill down to see which apps are using more data than others. Plus I can set alerts when I near the cap on my data. While its a great native function in Android 4.0, few phones today actually have Android 4.0.

That’s where Onavo comes in. We’ve covered the mobile application for iOS and Android devices in the past as it helps consumers keep track of their smartphone’s data usage. On iOS devices, can even have data run through Onavo’s servers, where it gets compressed: By doing this, you can surf the web more often without bumping up a set data cap. Onavo doesn’t do this for Android devices yet, but as of Thursday, it does offer real-time monitoring widgets; something not available on iOS(s aapl) devices. Here’s the description of each, per Onavo’s blog:

  • App Watch: Track how much data each app uses in the selected time frame. This widget updates automatically based on usage, and allows you to swirl through the apps that are using your data plan.
  • Data Plan Used: A slim, 1×4 widget, to see how much of your data plan is left this month. Super handy widget, and very easy to understand – MB used and the day of your bill cycle.
  • Live Data Usage: Another slim widget, to monitor which apps have been using data in the last 30min.

Again, Onavo could always monitor data usage in the past, similar to Android 4.0. But even on my Galaxy Nexus, there aren’t any widgets to monitor this mobile broadband use. Instead, the functionality is found in the “Wireless & Networks” settings and there aren’t any corresponding widgets.

Onavo is a free app that now includes these widgets, so if you’re interested in real-time data monitoring for non-Wi-Fi networks, hit up the Android Market for the most recent version of the app.