Uniquely Android: Plug In Launcher


During my short tenure as a weekend blogger at Phandroid, I’ve looked to start series featuring various apps, striving to ensure that these posts weren’t your regular “apps of the week” stuff. I started with the “Apps I uninstalled this week“, and then moved on to the “Rookie Review” which unfortunately didn’t catch on.

Now, I want to celebrate those apps that really make Android special, that take advantage of the unique capabilities of the platform and provide an experience that you wouldn’t find in most other phones. Some of these apps may be eyesores from a design perspective, and might have a really small feature set. But what they do really makes Android special. And Unique.

In the first post, I’m going to write about Plug In Launcher. A nifty little app that has both a free and a $1 Pro version, the app allows you to set up actions to be performed when either the USB, headset or power cord are connected, and (in the pro version only) also for bluetooth and WiFi connections.

I use it for launching UberMusic whenever I plug-in my headset, and for launching the Alarm app when I put it on charge. Other use cases that I can think of include launching Maps when you’re connected to your bluetooth headset, or launching a file manager when connected to another device.

Most of these actions are small stuff, typically replacing what would have taken a click or two if they didn’t exist. But once you start using them you get so used to it that you begin to wonder why these capabilities don’t exist in a phone straight out-of-the-box.

Raveesh Bhalla

Microsoft’s IFTTT-clone for Android, on{X}, is actually pretty cool

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  1. Sony’s Liveware Manager (in play store) can be used to automate things on accessories being plugged in etc, worth giving that a shot before buying this app!

  2. So basically… Tasker with limited features?

    Like the idea of “Uniquely Android” series though. Hope it’ll catch on.

    1. Tasker’s $6.5. Otherwise .. yes

    2. Tasker can do a lot, and can certainly do what’s described in this article, but for some people it can be completely overwhelming. Sometimes a limited feature set is a good thing. That said, whenever I need new behavior or functionality out of my phone, I often turn to Tasker before looking for an app in the Play Store.

      I also like the idea of this series.

  3. Thanks for the heads up Raveesh!

  4. I would love to hear about apps like this and other helpful apps other than “hot this week” apps. There are tons of apps on the android market place the problem is finding the good ones that are actually worth downloading/buying.

  5. I gotta say, when i saw the title “Uniquely Android”, I was thinking about unique, or non standard uses of Android. These are the things that really set this platform apart. How about a focus on Android powered robots, or other embedded devices. Open source projects that use AOSP for powering devices other than phones. or the Android Open Accessory Project. Every platform has apps, and with hundreds of thousands of apps in each AppShop(should i copyright that and sue for it later?) finding apps that are unique to our platform really is like showcasing the the odd hay in the haystack. A series like that would really set this site apart, much like our platform.

  6. Tasker rules! So much potential! When I plug my headphones in, I am always going for a run. Tasker loads Endomondo Pro then gives me the option to chose my podcast app or my FM radio. Depending on what I select, the volume will be set appropriately (music or speech need different volumes for me) and a long press on the home means that I can switch straight into endomondo as the last used app ready to run with minimal faffing with the phone. Worth the $6. You can trial tasker for 2 weeks free from Taskers website BTW. (I’m just a fan, no conflict of interest)

  7. I use Llama, which has these capabilities and more. It’s also free and I find it easier to use than Tasker.

  8. I started using this app a few weeks ago and it is great. It’s nice, small, simple, and works. The developer also responded to email.

  9. There’s a tooll doing this (and much more) included on the latest motorola phones.

  10. Someone should build something like this and call it Smart Actions!

  11. Also check out Wave Control. It is a very unique Android app.

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