Smartphones

Three noteworthy Android calendaring apps

Scott Lowe highlights three Android calendar apps: Business Calendar, Touch Calendar, and Jorte.

Let's start with this simple premise: You're not satisfied with the default calendaring application that shipped with your Android device. If you're in this boat, there's no need to worry. The Android Market is chock full of calendars -- both free and paid -- whose developers will be more than happy to help you find a replacement. In this post, we'll look at a few Android calendaring apps to see what's out there.

Before we get started, let's clear up what could be confusing terminology for the uninitiated. When you search for new items in the Android Market, you'll get a lot of results that mix widgets and applications.

  • Widget. From the Android developers guide: "Widgets are a feature introduced in Android 1.5. A widget displays an application's most important or timely information at a glance, on a user's Home screen." Others refer to widgets as "mini apps" and the like.
  • Application. An application is a full program that performs an important function, such as allowing users to kill pigs with apoplectic birds flung from a slingshot.

For the purposes of this post, I'm focusing on applications rather than widgets, and all but one of the applications showcased here have both free and paid versions available.

Business Calendar

I like nice looking, dashboard-like functionality, and that's what I see in Business Calendar, which has free (ad supported) and paid ($5.45 USD) versions. At first glance, it might appear to be chaos, but upon closer inspection and understanding of the icons, there is a clear method to the madness.

The different colored bars on each day correspond to the colored legend at the bottom of the screen, and the ability to get a pop-over look at a single day makes this a clear winner in my book from a user experience perspective. Notice also that at the bottom of the window, there's a slider that allows the user to choose the number of days to view, from 1 to 14.

Business Calendar syncs with Google Calendars, but the Google limitation might be the primary major hindrance to this app. Additional synchronization options would certainly take this app to a much broader audience.

Figures A and B show screenshots of Business Calendar. Figure A

This is what I call the "Chaos to serenity" view.
Figure B

Business Calendar also offers a more traditional calendar view.

Touch Calendar

Another great calendaring application in the Android Market is Touch Calendar, which has free (some features not available, no support available) and paid ($2.26 USD) versions.

When you think about what makes modern smartphones and tablets great, it's the ease with which you can manipulate what you're doing. Using various touch gestures, you can zoom in and out of your calendar, just like you do with Google Maps. The paid version of Touch Calendar adds home page widgets and some developer support. You'll notice that some events are color-coded -- this is the result of color-coding options made in the synchronized Google Calendar, and the color option can be changed there. Figures C-F below give you a look at Touch Calendar in action. Figure C

A zoomed out Touch Calendar view.
Figure D

Zoom in to view more detail -- a great way to maintain the user context!
Figure E

Create recurring events using a variety of different patterns.
Figure F

Home page widgets in the paid version of Touch Calendar keep the calendar front and center.

Jorte

Jorte is billed as a "personal organizer" rather than just a calendar app. It has a 4.5 rating, close to 67,000 reviews, between 5,000,000 and 10,000,000 downloads in the Android Market -- and the best part is that it's free!

The Jorte app allows users to interact with and customize the product in a myriad of ways, including the ability to choose colors, fonts, and layouts. Beyond just calendaring, Jorte provides the user with a task list and memo area, making it much more like a personal organizer than just a calendar.

Figure G

A landscape view of Jorte reveals the calendar, Important Events, and Tasks & Memos.
Figure H

The portrait view of Jorte shows similar information.

With Jorte, you can also import holidays based on your country's needs, import and export data, and much more (see the Figures below).

Figure I

Import national holidays into your Jorte calendar.
Figure J

Import data from a variety of sources.

The developer web site also provides methods by which the information in the Jorte calendar can be synchronized with Exchange/Outlook. The developer appears responsive to feedback as well, which is certainly a nice bonus for a free app.

Summary

Whatever your calendaring needs, there's probably an app in the Android Market for that. In my next post, I will focus on calendaring widgets.

About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

2 comments
Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Why does Jorte need permissions to access "Phone state"? It asks to know if the phone is active, phone number of the device, and the number the call is connected to.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Please tell me that "family day" isn't a once-a-year thing :) Unless it's shorthand for "in-laws day"... that one I can understand, except that once a year is too frequent. I've made my "In-laws day" a centennial event, and we already had it. :D The knowledge that it's over warms me while I slowly recover from the ordeal :p

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