Most smartphones with touchscreens have some sort of a lock screen that requires you to swipe a pattern or enter a passcode before you can start using your phone. This keeps you from accidentally making a phone call, deleting email messages, or topping your high score in Angry Birds if your screen accidentally turns on while your phone is in your pocket.
But it also means it takes a little longer to start using your device since you have to press a power button and make perform some sort of gesture before you see your home screen. On the other hand — why do you need to go to your home screen at all if all you want to do is check the time or peek at your calendar?
Most phones will show you the time at a glance even if you don’t unlock them first. Now if you have an Android phone you can also see some of your upcoming calendar appointments without unlocking your phone.
All you need is a free app called Lockscreen Calendar. It’s available for download from the Android Market.
The first time you run the app you can configure which of your Google calendars you want to display, how many appointments should be shown on the lock screen, and how to show the date.
There are also settings letting you decide how often the app should check for new appointments (measured in hours) and how far ahead it should look for appointments (measured in weeks).
You may not notice any appointments on your lock screen right away unless you click the “update now” button to get things started.
The app is still in beta, and I’ve noticed that while Lockscreen Calendar does a good job of detecting full-day appointments from my calendars it doesn’t seem to notice event scheduled for a specific time. It also doesn’t seem to list today’s appointments, instead showing event starting tomorrow. The developer also acknowledges that he hasn’t found a good way to find and display recurring appointments yet.
Certain devices may also not be able to display appointments on the lock screen including the Samsung Galaxy S and HTC devices with Sense software.
Lockscreen Calendar shows a lot of promise, but it’s still a work in progress. For now though, it’s one of the best ways to get a quick overview of upcoming appointments on your Android phone without much fuss.