aCalender Is The Mutt’s Nuts* For Android

in Mobile Cloud, Mobile Computing, Productivity

logoI recently posted an article on smartphone and tablet tools for mobile executives, looking at email and myMail in particular. Here I look at that other vital weapon in a busy executive’s life – the calendar.  I doubt if I would be writing this if it wasn’t for the demise of Sunrise which was (1) purchased by Microsoft (2) integrated into Outlook and (3) to be decommissioned for non-Outlook users.

I looked for an alternative and initially found WAVE but there has been no active development for months and I cannot recommend software that lies gathering dust. Fortunately I discovered Today Calendar which is a pretty bombproof calendar that made me realise how limited some of the Sunrise modules were.

Over the weekend I noticed a special offer on some Android apps including aCalendar+ for the princely sum of 50p (the app developers asks that you try the feature limited aCalendar basic module before buying the premium app).  Throwing caution to the wind I splashed on the premium module without looking at the free version. Good decision. This is what you get when buying the premium version:

 aCalendar Premium Modules

● Scalable and scrollable agenda widget (Android 4, lockscreen-capable)
● Google Tasks (Android 4)
● Manage Profiles (e.g. work and private, access the profile manager from the calendar list’s menu)
● Notification actions for events (snooze, maps, edit) and quick contact bar for birthdays (Android 4.1)
● More notification options (more ringtones, vibration, LED)
● Manage Google Calendars (Android 4)
● Public holidays (add from calendar list) for 30+ countries
● Link calendar events to contacts
● Text and file sharing option
● More color themes (5 light + 5 dark themes, Android 4)
● Privacy and availability settings
● Create new local calendars (Android 4)
● Manage attendees and invitations
● Drag’n’Drop in day view (Android 4, double-tap and hold)
● Samsung S Pen / Stylus Support (AirView & Navigation, no painting!)
● Autocomplete for inputs (location only so far)
● Email reminders for Google Calendar (Android 4)

acalendar 2

Slick Operation

It’s an impressive list of premium features made all the more attractive with attention and  an eye to design and slickness of operation. You can choose between week, agenda, day and month view by swiping up, down or sideways. The look of calendars, tasks and events is enhanced by a colour picker that enables you to choose from subtle to eye searingly bold hues, an important factor if you are using a small screen device or have suspect eyesight!  In week and day view there is a mini month selector which makes choosing days to log events even quicker than swiping through.

As aCalendar syncs with Google Calendar you also get the benefit of aCalendar showing third party services such as Todoist, Wunderlist etc. that you have logged with GCal. The tasks module also syncs with Google Tasks if that is your task manager of choice. Syncing between Gtasks and aCa\lendar is almost instantaneous.  However, you have to access them  via a separate tasks page and do not show up in the main calendar such as a synced Todoist account.

Privacy Plus

One aspect of the app is the nod it gives your privacy. It only asks to sync with your contacts and Google calendar, it doesn’t want access rights to your camera, phone calls etc. that so many apps try to sneak in.

I have only played with aCalendar for 24 hours or so but I am going to run it in parallel with Today Calendar so see which feels the best option.

* Mutt’s Nuts is the polite form of a quaint English phrase The Dogs Bollocks, which means great, wonderful, superlative. etc..

Edit: I had a misunderstanding on accessing sub menus on my Galaxy Tab 3 and Matthias resolved it very quickly. Excellent customer service.

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