Uniquely Android: AutomateIt


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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 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.

Raveesh Bhalla

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  1. am i the only one who reads this as “automateLt” before I realize what it actually says?

    1. Yes, I’d imagine you are.

    2. I was pronouncing it in my head as all one word. (And thinking Wtf?!?!) Wasn’t til I got to the end of the article when he finally got around to kinda explaining what it does that I realized it was one word and the acronym LT.

      1. But it actually has no L in it. It’s a capital I, which appears like a lower case l in this font

        1. Ohhhhhh… You are absolutely right. I stand corrected on my correction yet again. They need to cap automate an lower case it. AUTOMATEit

          1. It’s the website’s font. Some fonts distinguish between capital ‘i’ and lowercase ‘L’.

    3. I read it as Automelt, at first…..

      1. Hahaha at least I’m not alone

      2. perfect app for your cheese sandwich… :P

  2. Surprised Locale is not mentioned here. All considered, I feel that app combines simplicity and features to accomplish perfect automation.

    1. I find locale way to limited without buying plugins.

      1. And its $10 with no free version to try out first

        1. Totally worth it…I have hardly had to worry about setting my phone on silent when I walk into work for about 3 years now. Plus I have it turn on/off bluetooth when in the car, and on/off wifi when not at home or work.

          It’s a godsend!

          1. how does it know when you get in the car? I would have thought you could have the trigger be that you connect to car bluetooth… but since you’re using the trigger to turn on bluetooth that can’t be right

  3. Looks interesting Raveesh.
    However I am still waiting to hear about the secret project you are working on during the week.

    1. Its so secret even he doesn’t know what it is.

    2. I’ve had to delay it a bit cos I’ve been struggling with a really bad back ache last couple of weeks, catch me on Twitter (@raveeshbhalla) or Google+ (+Raveesh Bhalla) cos I’ll probably let everyone know over there once its ready for prime time.

      1. Adding you now

  4. How does this compare with Tasker?

    1. I have both AutomateIt and Tasker installed. I haven’t used Tasker since I installed it, but AutomateIt is my main automation app. I use a few rules every day, such as go back to the home screen after completing a call (so the call log doesn’t show up) and volume adjustment when I’m at work and when I am leaving work, etc…

  5. I’m liking AutomateIt so far.

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