Google has been slowly releasing its stock apps in the Play Store, and the latest to become available Android-wide is Calculator.
Up until now, if your Android phone didn’t have the default Calendar app installed, you had no way of getting it. If you did have the app on your device, the only way to update the app was through a firmware update, which meant you’d have to wait for months just to get the latest version of the app.
Now, with the Play Store launch, updates can come as often as they’re needed.
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The other big Calculator news is that the app is now available on Android Wear. If until now you could ask Google Now to do some math for you (Okay Google… What’s the square root of 125?), now you can use a basic version of the calculator on your watch. Here’s how it looks:
And it works… kinda. It’s a bit laggy, and it makes me wish I had tiny fingers, but hey – it works! I’m still not sure I’ll replace voice commands with the watch calculator.
To celebrate the Calculator launch on the store, let’s see how we could use the app in real life.
3 times you wish you didn’t need Google Calculator but you totally do
#1: Calculating the tip
If you live in a country where a 10% tip is the norm, then it’s easy breezy. But if you don’t, or you’re impressed and you want to tip your waiter more… then it’s the awkward math dance where you try to approximate, then go around and double check… It’s a pain.
I firmly believe that this is why every mobile phone for the past twenty years has come with a calculator. Quote me on that.
#2: Converting metric to imperial
I’m from Europe, and I’ve been exposed to American culture enough that I know how far 100 feet roughly is, but there are still so many imperial units I’m struggling with it’s insane.
You try converting 6.5 liters per 100 kilometers into miles per gallon. No cheating, don’t use a calculator!
Ok, you can cheat. Calculators make this incredibly easy. You know what’s easier? If everyone used the same system! And everyone almost is – metric users are countries with green:
#3: Triple-checking your math
Sometimes it only takes a moment of distraction for you to completely miss a simple division. My most frequent use of the Calculator app is actually double and triple-checking my math to make sure I have it right. I almost always do, but why risk it?
The app is always just a couple of taps away and it takes a few seconds to check some basic math. So we might as well give it a go.
What’s next: Separate apps, faster updates
Google’s move of the Calculator app to the Play Store is not the start, but it’s far from the end. Phones won’t have a ton of proprietary apps bundled up with the software and aging along with the phone. They’ll soon all be on the market, available for anyone, and updated as often as all of our other apps.
And speaking of the Calculator, do you have it on an Android Wear watch? Do you find any uses for it there? Let me know in the comments below….
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