Jun 22nd, 2013

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Uniquely Android is a series we started that shines the spotlight on those apps that take advantage of the unique capabilities of the platform and provide an experience that you wouldn’t find in most other phones. Previously, we have featured Plug In LauncherAirDroidShushLlamaSwiftkey 3SwipePadWidgetsoid2.xUnified RemoteAirCalcWiFi KeyboardPuzzle Alarm ClockNotif Mac RemoteEverything.me Launcher and ReadItToMe.

If I were to be asked to name one single feature about Android from a developer perspective that I love the most, I would probably name implicit intents. They are what allow every app developer to bake in their products at an almost system level, such as how Skype allows you to use their service as the default way to call another person, or lets you choose your preferred browser. They are crucial to the idea of Android being an open, customizable operating system. They are also the foundation for most of the automation apps such as Tasker and Llama (which has already been featured in this series before).

A third such app that I found is AutomateIt. If you have never used such an app before, a quick description of how they work: you can create various recipes or rules, which consist of a trigger and an action. There are 31 possible triggers in AutomateIt (excluding other factors in triggers, such as locations, contents of a text message or the number calling you) and 27 possible actions. Let’s just say it’s almost certain you aren’t going to need anything else.

What I like about AutomateIt, as compared to Llama, is the UI. It’s not great, but it’s a lot better and a casual user would probably be able to find their way around it. They have also integrated some of the new Google Play services announced at I/O, including activity tracking which allows the app to know when you’re driving, or biking, or walking, or just sitting still.  That makes me guess that they are also using the new location APIs, which I guess should help ensure it doesn’t drain your battery. If you buy the pro version, you can also get access to complex And/Or triggers.

One example of how I use the app is a rule that I call “find phone”, for those moments when I misplace my device somewhere in my house after having set it on silent. The rule essentially turns up the volume to full when I call from my landline number.

To download AutomateIt, visit this link. And if you have any interesting recipes that you’d like to share, do mention them in the comments.

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