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Microsoft's on{x} Android app makes your smartphone even smarter

June 6, 2012
microsoft on{X} android app

A few weeks back, LG has announced its plans to release a thinking smartphone, one that will be able to wake you up a few minutes earlier if heavy traffic was detected on your route to work, and perform other similar smart functions. If that previous post got you thinking (pun intended, maybe?) what else could a smartphone be programmed to do, you are going to love Microsoft’s on{x} website and Android app combo.

Basically, what on{x} does is allow you to program your Android smartphone, either by using one of the ready-made “recipes” or by using their JavaScript API. For instance, the app can send a text message to your wife when it detects that you are leaving work (control freak, much?), remind your lazy bones to go to the gym if it detects you haven’t been there in a pre-defined number of days, or even launch the music app when it detects you are running.

One of the most interesting functions of Microsoft’s on{x} is that it is able to detect your means of transportation: walking, driving, or running. One possible example of the usefulness of this function: the app can remember where your car is parked (since the app can detect where you’ve switched from driving to walking).

If you’re a code ninja, you can dive into the Javascript APIs and set your own rules by combining a trigger with an action. Possible examples of a trigger include: “leaving work”, “detect driving mode” and so on, while possible examples of actions include reminders, the launching of apps or even sending an SMS or email. However, if coding is not actually your thing, you’ll be far better off tweaking one of the 11 available templates. Oh, and you privacy-aware readers should rest assured that all “recipes” are private by default. If you want to make your recipe public, it must be approved before being released to the broad public.

Now that you know how on{x} works, let me answer the question that was probably bugging you since the first paragraph: why is Microsoft developing this unique application for Android and not for their own mobile operating system? The answer comes from the Program Manager of the team reponsable for the on{x}, namely Shira Winberg from the Israeli Information Platform and Experiences. She stated that Android has a less strict security model, thus making early stage previews of the app a lot more suited for Google’s OS. The finalized version of the app will surely arrive on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, although it is impossible to tell the differences (if any) between those versions and the Android version of the app.

On a personal level, I find Microsoft’s on{x} to be probably one of the most interesting apps ever created for Android (and any other mobile OS for that matter), and I’m more than eager to see what the finalized version of the app will be able to do. What do you guys make of it? Let us know in the comment section below!