Any-do has been one of the premiere to-do managers on Android since its debut, and now the same developers are building an alternative to Google Calendar for Android. Google has done a lot to make Calendar a better app as Android has evolved, but maybe there is room for some innovation in this space. Cal plugs into your existing calendar accounts seamlessly and presents your appointments in really slick interface with easy-to-access options. Let's take a closer look at the beta.

How It Works

Upon opening Cal, you will be shown your current day's agenda with a single-week calendar above that. You can tap on any day in that strip to jump to it, or swipe left and right to navigate through the days. There's a smooth sliding animation as your appointments shrink away and the next day slides into place. You'll probably also notice that Cal pulls up a different background image for each day. The themes of the pics can be altered in the settings, but other than the super-intense model I keep seeing glaring at me, none of them are objectionable.

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The other way to get around is to swipe down on any screen to expand that single-week strip into a full month view. The current day is still highlighted and the agenda is below, but you might have to scroll down to see it all. You can swipe left and right on the full calendar to change the month or just tap on a day.  

Adding an event is done with the 'plus' button at the top of the screen. All the functions you expect to have in a calendar app are there including time, reminders, guests, and locations. The app sees all your synced accounts on the device and lets you select the one you want to make the event under. All that data syncs – in the proper format no less – to your Google account.

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Event reminders in Cal have an interesting twist. You get an icon in the notification pane, but a small panel also slides up from the bottom of the screen with your event details. This can be dismissed, or you can tap it to open Cal. It's a little more in your face, but it looks very nice and polished.

But Does It Work?

I was expecting that I'd need to do some setup with Cal the first time I opened it. Instead, it just grabbed the calendar data associated with my Google account and we were done. You can still go into the settings and turn off unwanted calendars, but it's totally painless to switch to Cal. All the data I've entered through Cal has shown up in my Google account without issue too (even responding to invitations).

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The left and right swiping animations to move between days and months is super-smooth and kind of fun to just mess around with. This is true of most of the animations in Cal. Making a new appointment, editing events, and even deleting things all have a cool, yet understated effect. I find myself wanting to open Cal because it just looks neat. There are a few spots of lag (as tested on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 4) when expanding the full month view and tapping on it to move multiple days at a time. I'm also not sold on that overflow menu button floating down there by itself. A real action bar of some sort would look more Android-y. But this is beta, so that sort of stuff is to be expected.

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The way events are displayed in Cal is really awesome – I hesitate to call it card-based, but it kind of is. You get the basic info at the top, then guests, a location, and notes below that. There's even a handy navigation shortcut and map in the location card (if you have one attached). The other functions for adding guests, reminders, deleting the event, and so on are accessible from big, finger-friendly buttons below that.  

There's also a scrollable widget that is done in the same clean white style as the app itself. It fits in well with most themes, and does pretty much what you'd expect a widget to do. However, I had to restart my device to get it to show up.

2013-10-17 19.18.12 2013-10-17 20.01.17 is an extremely polished app, and I have no doubt Cal is going to be the same when it's done. Even now as a brand new Android beta, there are only a few very minor issues. If you want in, you'll have to join the Google Group, then join the beta through Google Play. It only takes a minute, but Cal is free to download.

Note: The link below won't work if you're not in the beta.