To further decouple its apps from Android, Google has just published its Calculator app to the Play Store.
The app is the same exact one you would find on stock Android, but it’s not the first built-in app Google has brought over for people to download onto non-stock devices. Last year, Google moved the stock Clock, Phone, Contacts, and Google Camera app to the Play Store. Unfortunately, the Phone and Contacts app is only compatible with Nexus, Android One, and Google Play Edition devices running Android Marshmallow and higher.
That’s not the case for the rest of them, though, but the new Calculator app still requires Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The app itself is more or less the same as the stock version, except Google has added Android Wear support. Now you can relive the memories of owning a calculator watch, by solving mathematical equations on the go.
Google’s recent move to decouple these apps from the operating system is a boon for those on other devices with skinned-Android versions, but want a stock Android experience. For example, if you preferred the look of Google’s Calculator app as opposed to the one bundled on the Samsung Galaxy S7, now you have the option to download it. It’s also easier for Google to offer updates to these apps through the Play Store, unlike how it had to rely on system updates before.
But the search giant’s actions are likely results of increasing scrutiny of how it bundles and promotes its services and apps on almost all Android devices. When you get an Android device, you’ll likely see many Google apps pre-installed like Google Maps, Chrome, and more. Manufacturers have increasingly been looking to replace most of these apps for their own variants, and have complained that Google’s practices are anti-competitive.
Either way, breaking free more of the pre-installed apps from the Android operating system is a good thing. Though it’s unfortunate that some of them are only compatible on devices with Marshmallow or higher, considering that Android 6.0 is only on 2.3 percent of devices.