One major advantage of Android is that nearly every element of the operating system, including the lock screen, is open to customization. You can choose specific lock screen widgets to access key information without needing to unlock your phone and get it from a specific app.
While there are several good choices in the Google Play Store, the best by far is DashClock. It shows a healthy list of useful information, such as your local weather, text messages, and missed calls. But its real power comes from a large number of extensions built by other developers, connecting DashClock to many popular services.
After downloading DashClock from Google Play, the next step is to add it as a lock screen widget. Be sure that “Enable Widgets” is turned on. To check this, go to Settings, Security, and then click the Enable widgets checkbox.
To add DashClock, swipe once to the right from the lock screen, and click the large plus sign (instructions may vary slightly depending on the launcher running on your device.) After pushing the plus sign, scroll through the lock screen widget choices and select DashClock.
Once DashClock has been placed, the settings page will launch. This displays all the content that can be shown on the screen. Reorder the list or tap the button on the top right to get additional extensions. This links off to the Google Play Store, providing a list of the different extensions that can be attached to DashClock.
In order for DashClock to be the first thing you see when powering on your phone, it must be selected as the main lock screen widget. To do this, tap and hold the DashClock widget and move it to the space furthest to the right. Other widgets can be deleted by swiping them away.
By default DashClock has useful services, but its real power comes through the many third-party extensions one can connect; there are hooks into FitBit, Hangouts, Snapchat, and other services. Developers can build their own extensions to DashClock by visiting the open source project page.
DashClock condenses the information when used as the main lock screen widget, as Android only allows it at the top half of the screen. However, by tapping and sliding down on DashClock, the full content comes into view. This can reveal specific Hangout conversation text or data from other appss
To be taken to a specific app that's displaying data in DashClock, just touch the related content and then unlock the device. This creates a very rapid and effective method for getting to relevant information quickly.
DashClock is what you make of it, so the best way to put it to use is to try out different extensions and see what works best. As DashClock has become the real benchmark app in this area, the odds are strong that a service you use will be represented.