Traditionally, the motto of the CyanogenMod team was to keep things simple. They wanted to build a better stock version of Android, which remained true to the Android Open Source Project but added important features that were felt to be lacking. There has been some debate around how the project decides which features are merged with the code, as they try to avoid adding too many features and making the stock build clumsy and bloated. As such, it is a bit odd that they have decided to integrate better calculator functionality into the builds, because the same functionality is easily available through the installation of a Play Store app.
This isn’t to say that I don’t think the enhanced calculator will be useful; on the contrary, I’ve always found Android’s stock calculator to be lacking. I’ll probably use the new calculator quite a bit, and be glad for the extra functionality. Still, the potential philosophy change is a bit interesting to examine. As I mentioned, the calculator functionality can easily be added through an app, which makes me wonder why the team decided to include the code in their builds. It could mean nothing, or it could mean that the project is ever so slightly changing its goals, perhaps without even realizing it.
I certainly don’t mean to say this is a bad thing, as the CyanogenMod project is quite awesome and I will likely continue to use their ROMs for quite a while. I also don’t have anything against this calculator app or developer, and in fact think that the addition is great and will be helpful to many users. In fact, I initially planned to write this article just to talk about how bad the stock calculator app was, and how great it was that CyanogenMod decided to replace it. While that sentiment is still valid, as I thought about it I realized that adding a feature like this is something just a little different for the team, and I’m interested to see what (if any) change may be coming in the future.