Mobility

Want a solid Android calendar app with style? Try Cal

Jack Wallen takes a look at how to install and use Cal: Android Calendar & Widget.

 
Cal Android app
 

I'm always on the hunt for a good calendar app. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and features. Many of them lack equal parts usability and style. However, Cal: Android Calendar & Widget is as slick looking as it is usable.

Cal offers the following features:

  • Sync all of your current calendars (including Google Calendar and Exchange)
  • Easily merge business agendas and personal life planning
  • Quickly review your day from home screen widget
  • Add events and details faster and easier with voice-to-text
  • App predicts who you want to meet and suggests nearby meeting places
  • Visual timeline helps you find free moments
  • Keep in sync with friends and colleagues birthdays
  • Built-in Google Maps, Waze, and Uber
  • Connect Cal to Any.do to help manage tasks
  • Nine photo themes
  • Landscape and month view
  • Set up time- and location-based reminders
  • Recurring events

Cal is a refreshing change from the standard calendar app. Its interface is somewhat removed from the usual boring calendar look and feel.

Not convinced? Let's install it so you can see for yourself.

Installation

The installation of Cal is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Search for "cal" (no quotes)
  3. Locate and tap the entry for Cal: Android Calendar & Widget
  4. Tap Install
  5. Tap Accept

The app is now installed. You should find the launcher on both your home screen and your application drawer. Tap the launcher and then tap the Start button within the app splash screen.

Usage

When you open Cal for the first time, it should automatically sync with all account calendars you have on your phone (including Exchange). You'll see both a one week calendar listing as well as your upcoming events (Figure A).

Figure A

 

Figure A
 

Cal running on a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto X.

If you need to see more of the calendar, simply drag the screen down. You can switch between a week and a month view. Gaining access to the month view allows you to easily add appointments to specific days of the month. Here's how to create a new calendar appointment:

  • Drag down to view the entire month
  • Tap the day of the month you want to add the event
  • Tap the plus sign [+]
  • In the resulting window, type the name of the event
  • Tap the beginning time, and select when you want the event to begin
  • Tap the end time, and select when you want the event to end
  • If the event is an all day event, tap the ALL DAY button
  • Select the calendar for the event by tapping the default calendar listing (Figure B) and selecting the appropriate calendar
  • Tap ADD to save the event

Figure B

Figure B
The event creation window in action.

Once you've added the event, you can then add actions (such as reminders and attendee invites). Here's how to create a reminder:

  1. From the screen that appears after tapping ADD, tap the Remind me button
  2. Select the time for the reminder (Figure C)
  3. To receive an email reminder, tap CONFIRM BY E-MAIL
  4. Tap DONE

Figure C

Figure C
Setting up a reminder for a Cal event.

To invite an attendee, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the attendee button, which appears as a small person icon (Figure D)
  2. Enter the name(s) for the attendee (this is drawn from your contacts)
  3. Tap DONE

Figure D

 

Figure D
 

The attendee icon is located in the bottom row to the far left.

After adding attendee(s), the event window will change (Figure E). At this point, you can tap the email button to send an email to the attendees or tap the chat button to initiate a chat with the attendees. Don't let the email button fool you, because Cal does not send an auto-generated email invite/notice of the appointment to all attendees. The email button is only used to create an email to all attendees for follow up or similar email notes.

Figure E

 

Figure E
 

Take action on your event.

When you tap the email button, it will ask which app you want to use to send the email (if you have multiple apps to handle email or multiple email accounts configured). The application does not auto-generate the email. Instead, you have to compose the email manually (including subject). This is one area where the app could use a bit of refinement, because it would be nice if the app itself would auto-generate the subject and add the time, date, and details to the event email.

It is also possible to add the following to each event:

  • Location
  • Notes
  • Recurrence

Do this by tapping each respective icon from the event window.

The widget

Cal also comes with a well-crafted widget. From the widget, you can scroll through your upcoming events and even add new events (Figure F).

Figure F

Figure F
The Cal widget on the Moto X home screen.

The Cal widget is added in the same fashion you would add any other widget (this will vary, depending on your device). I suggest that once you've added the widget, you resize it to cover the entire page of the home screen. To resize the widget, long-press anywhere on the widget until a box with four handles appears. Drag the handles until the widget size is maxed out. Once you've added the widget, you're ready to have quick access to your calendars!

If you're a power user who's always on the lookout for a better calendar application, then you really need to give Cal a try. Not only will you find this take on the calendar app easy to use, but it's easy on the eyes as well.

Have you use the Cal app? What Android calendar app do you prefer? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

 

 

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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