Google’s recent release of their native calendar via the Play Store is hopefully a signal that Google will be moving away from making Google native app upgrades part of OS upgrades and instead release all native apps via the Play Store. I like this idea; hopefully, this will lead to Google releasing more updated versions of these apps. This will allow users who are on non-Nexus devices to use native AOSP apps on their skinned OS.
I was really excited to see Google release their native calendar app via the Google Play store. I have an extremely busy work and family schedule and rely heavily on my calendar app to make sure I am in the right place at the right time. To be honest, prior to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) the native calendar just plain sucked. The UI was horrible, the widget was just as bad and the app did not have as many features as other non-AOSP calendar’s offered. I used an aftermarket calendar to replace what I felt was a failure on Google’s part to offer a quality calendar app. Then, starting with ICS, Google seemed to put more effort in making the app more usable for people who used it for more than just adding a date and waiting the event notification.
If I were on a non-Nexus HTC, Samsung or LG device, I would give serious consideration to using the Google native calendar as opposed to an OEM skinned calendar. Having the ability to download the native calendar app from the Google Play Store is a nice option to have for users like me who take the app seriously. Some people like the native apps and I am sure would like to replace some of the manufacturer included apps with Google’s native apps.
With the release of the native calendar app, I think Google is really on to something. Releasing their native apps will allow Google to do a better job of adding improved features in between the release of their new operating systems. Google has already been doing this with the Gmail and Google Maps apps, which has lead to better functionality and improved user experience. So why wouldn’t Google want to do this with all of their native apps?
What do you think? Does Google’s ability to update their native apps help or hinder the development process? If Google continues to improve these apps in between OS releases as well as making them available through the Play Store to those trapped in OEM UI Prison will this have a negative impact on “aftermarket” apps? Only time will tell.