I’ve been an Android user for a few years now – and a devout one at that. You know those people who are the anti-apple-fanboys, the ones who proudly refuse to buy Apple products, who gloat at every opportunity to criticize the iconic company and its fanboys? Yeah, that was me. Actually, I’m still not a big fan of Apple, but things have been different since I had to get my first iDevice – an iPod Touch – simply to be able to preview and test the apps we design for iOS at work.
Having lived extensively in a two-devices-in-my-pocket-at-all-times world, I’ve come to see reason in my arguments – both for and against Android & iOS. There are multi-platform apps that I happily use on both, my Android phone and the iPod touch. And there are those that I’ve come to love on Android, but just haven’t found replacements on iOS as yet. What follow is just that – apps I can’t live without on Android, and miss sorely on iOS.
It has been a while since we looked at apps that can be used to automate tasks on your Android phone or tablet so I thought it was time to rectify the situation. In a never-ending quest to make my life as easy as possible, I’ve tried everything from Tasker to AutomateIt.
I love to automate things. Love it. I use filters in Gmail to organize my inbox and IFTTT is a service I just can’t recommend highly enough. I use it to manage emails, news feeds, cloud storage backups and much more – all without having to lift a finger. Profile Flow brings the same idea to Android.
We all love our wallpapers, don’t we? Be it on the desktop or on the phone, everyone likes using some nice artwork to customize the screens the way they want. We have covered wallpapers a fair bit here on AppStorm, so I’m not going to bore you with why they are so awesome and why you should get some. Instead, let’s do something different this time.
Ever wished the wallpapers on your phone changed automatically every once in a while? How about if they changed – not randomly – but based on a set of conditions. One wallpaper for the day and another for the evening, maybe? Or a different one based on whether your headphones are plugged in or not? Or maybe based on the weather outside? That would be helpful, wouldn’t it?
With all the bells and whistles tucked away in your Android device, you would expect it to be just a bit more useful in your life. These are not just your every day cellphones of decades past. They have mics, speakers, WiFi, GPS, temperature sensors, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and probably a bunch of other stuff that I’d have to ask Google search to help me list.
Forget just being reminded about simple stuff like emails, tasks, and phone calls. Let’s take a look at a few apps that go beyond your standard reminders and help turn your Android into a backup memory store for your own brain.
One of Android’s biggest strengths as a platform is its hackability. Being open source, the operating system enables users the freedom to tweak it and customize it in any way they want, way more than any other mobile OS out there. And no app has received more praise for being the tool of choice to mould Android in any way one wants, than Tasker. By combining an insane number of triggers, actions and related parameters, Tasker has for years now let us Android geeks make our phones our own, in every sense of the word.
Let’s face it though: as powerful as Tasker may be, it is quite the devil when it comes to usability. I didn’t say Android “geeks” above in any lesser way; the learning curve with Tasker is known to be pretty high. Scores of users have picked it up like children pick candy in a candy store, and then let go of it because they found it too bitter for their taste. Heck, even we, as a blog, haven’t succeeded in going beyond a couple posts about it!
Fed up with not being able to take full advantage of Tasker, I recently set out to find what else Google Play had to offer that came close to its power. Here are the results.
You can’t talk about automating your Android without mentioning Tasker, which basically allows you to fully automate your Android device based on your every whim.
Once Tasker is mentioned in conversation, there is usually discussion about how utterly powerful and flexible it is. Shortly after this, there is further discussion about how all this power resides in an app that is not all that user-friendly. There is some truth to this.
Tasker is insanely useful and configurable, but it can get overwhelming. However, I believe that anyone can understand and use Tasker without getting a second degree. We’ve previously covered the basic concepts and features of Tasker, so this post will go into detail on how to make Tasker work for you. (more…)
Imagine the following scenario. You leave the office and get in your car as your device sends a text message to your spouse letting them know you are heading home, while any incoming e-mails or text messages from your clients are instantly replied to with a generic “out-of-the-office” message.
As you begin to approach a local supermarket, another text message is sent out to your family asking if anything is needed to be purchased, and any replies are read aloud through the loud speaker.
As you pull in to your driveway, your handset instantly connects your home’s Wi-Fi connection. Setting your phone into a cradle on your desk automatically adjusts the volume and starts up your favorite station on Pandora.
Does it sound too good to be true? It’s not. All of this and almost everything imaginable is possible with the highly versatile application that is Tasker by the geniuses at Dinglisch. Tasker allows you to turn your Android-powered device into a true “Android” which will perform tasks for you on certain triggers or contexts. Never again will you forget to silence your phone while in a meeting or launch your favorite music application when you plug your ear buds in as Tasker will take care of monotonous everyday tasks with ease.