One of the best features of Windows Phone is the live tiles which allow you to see updated info (such as news, weather, social updates) without actually opening the app. Certain apps also push info onto the lock screen – my choice is to have Facebook updates showing, although I also get a count of e-mails, text messages and tweet-mentions.
The live tile for the phone’s native calendar app only shows your next appointment for the current day, but I’ve discovered a couple of apps which go one better. The first is Simple Calendar – inside the app it is indeed a simple calendar (seen on the left, click the small image to see the larger version), showing the month and then the schedule for the day selected. But on the live tile it goes one better than the native app by showing the next three appointments, and there are a choice of live tile styles (two free, and two available to purchase for the princely sum of 99p each).
Simple Calendar offers something cool in addition, and that’s your schedule on the lock screen (see image on the right) – not just the next appointment (which can be done with the native calendar app) but the next six (you can choose seeing between one to six appointments). This is a great feature, but I guess you’d have to be careful about not exposing confidential data which could be seen by someone who doesn’t know your unlock code.
The other app is Chronos Calendar (£1.49 and a free trial for five days, see image to the left). Inside the app, if I’m honest, it’s a bit odd-looking and certainly hasn’t been designed in the style of a Windows Phone app. It has no option to push calendar info onto the lock screen, but its big plus point is the start screen tile – the layout is far better than Simple Calendar, it has more layout options, it flips to show the next set of appointments, and the major advantage is being able to select a background image (something to add a bit of colour and style to your phone’s start screen).
So at the moment I have both apps installed – Simple Calendar to update the lock screen and Chronos Calendar for the live tile. Ideally the Windows Phone calendar app would do both of these things natively, and I just may suggest that to someone.
It’s worth noting that to get either of these apps updating you need to have background tasks running, but these have a negligible effect on performance and battery life. You can see the tiles for all three apps here on the right – Simple Calendar first (the basic theme colour tile), then Chronos Calendar (see here with a carefully selected background image), and finally the native calendar).