You’ve saved the day! What’s up with calendar apps

Everyone’s looking for an original twist on the most popular mobile apps. The calendar app is a perfect example.

People use the default Android product all the time. All those millions of users… wouldn’t it be great to tempt users away with something a little different?

Well, the app stores are full of products that prove you can. One strategy is to focus on people’s hobbies and obsessions. For example, the pre-installed Google Calendar may be great, but it can’t tell you when Real Madrid’s next game is. For that, you need a dedicated sports calendar like – er – Sports Calendar.

Sport is a religion for millions of people, so it’s easy to see how popular these apps can be. For millions more, religion is their religion. Which explains why there are calendar apps like Islamic Calendar. It’s had 14,500 reviews alone on Google Play.

Other apps go even more niche. For example, there is a healthy category of tide time apps for people who swim or walk and want to know what the moon is doing.

Or how about Natural Cycles? It’s a time-keeping app with a very striking difference: it helps women to know when they are ovulating. Even the EU has officially approved it.

All these apps prove that people are looking for a different kind of calendar. But it’s not all about niche interests. There are plenty of cool calendar products that try to improve the overall diary experience.

In the smartphone era, people are accustomed to making arrangements by email or online and seeing the diary date instantly replicated on their mobile. 

The truth is, Google’s own Calendar app is full of features and very easy to use. But millions of people would still prefer a different interface.

One of the most visually pleasing is Wave Calendar, which offers multiple color-coded views. For an even more minimalist look, there’s Tiny Calendar. This app basically takes the default Google product and strips it back to the basics.

At the other extreme is Fantastical. This is for very busy people. It has a quick week or month bar at the top then shoves loads of information on the rest of the screen. It’s properly dense. 

But it can’t compete with OneView Calendar. This app doesn’t have a day, week, month or year view. Just one single pane for everything. Phew.

For people who can’t make up their mind if they want clean or cluttered, there are plenty of customisable calendars. One of the most popular is Jorte. You can change the colors, backgrounds, themes, and so on. Predictably, you can also pay for additional backgrounds.

Another great feature of Jorte is the ability to download event schedules, such as sports fixtures, TV listings and religious holidays (alternative to a dedicated niche app). Another popular app to support this is DigiCal.

Of course, a crucial component of any calendar app is how you add new entries into it. Many apps include natural language input, so you can just write a sentence and expect the product to pick up on dates and names before populating your schedule.

But there are other ways. aCalendar, for example, lets users import events with an NFC tap or a barcode scan. Meanwhile, the very popular Cal app imports entries from its sister task list product Any.do.

There are hundreds of calendar apps in Google Play. Competition is fierce. But there will always be opportunities for enterprising developers – as long as they can find a slot in their busy schedules. 

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