Google is in the process of bringing apps like Google Calendar, which were previously available exclusively on stock Android, to the Play Store. The most recent apps to join the store are Contacts and Phone, both of which were previously baked into the Android operating system (OS).
Bringing its apps to the Play Store is a good move, because now Google only has to update the apps to add new features or changes, instead of doing it via Android OS updates.
It’s also helpful for users whose phones are not on stock Android, but want the full Google experience. For example, if you own the Samsung Galaxy S6 and dislike Samsung’s Dialer app, now you can replace it with Google’s. The same goes for users on all devices that are running Android with some kind of user interface layered on top.
Unfortunately, the Phone and Contact apps are only available for devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a phone that’s rocking the latest version of Android, you can grab the Phone app here, and the Contacts app here. Although the number of people who can download these apps on day one may be small, many more devices will update to Android 6.0 sooner or later.
The apps themselves don’t seem to be all that different from the current ones, but the Contacts app lists “streamlined contact editing” and “bug fixes and improvements,” in the ‘What’s New’ section. The Phone app doesn’t come with any new features.
Google has been separating its apps from the overall operating system for a while now, including the stock Camera and Clock app. It stands to reason that the company will continue bringing its apps to the Play Store for everyone’s enjoyment.