Turn your Android smartphone into a multi-tasking automated genius with the Tasker app.
Are smartphones really all that smart? Sure, they can do almost anything with the right app installed, but that just makes them versatile, not smart. The next wave of smartphone apps is where we'll really start to see them do clever things, using technologies such as augmented reality, image and voice recognition and context-based automation. Tasker
belongs in that third category, and works by letting you automate your smartphone to do almost anything when specific conditions are satisfied. This can be based on things like the time of day, GPS location, battery percentage, or a particular contact. Want to send an automatic text to your significant other to let them know you're going to be home late if you're still at work after 6pm? Too easy. How about automatically turning off auto-sync when the battery reaches 10% and you're not at home, or dimming your smartphone screen during sleeping hours so you're not blinded by the backlight in case you want to do some nocturnal web browsing? Piece of cake!
Tasker's ability to access every setting and app on your smartphone makes it incredibly powerful, as does the fact that it supports multiple conditions for each task, giving you the flexibility to create tasks that fit your needs exactly. If you've ever found yourself saying “If only my phone could…”, chances are that Tasker can do it.
We'll use the first idea, sending an automatic text to your significant other based on your GPS location, day and time, to give you an idea of how Tasker works. Once you fire up the app, create a profile name called “Working late”. You'll then see the ‘First Context' screen. Tap on time and choose the time period you want the condition to activate. For this example, we'll choose 18.00 to 18.00. Enter those parameters and tap the green tick button. You'll now need to enter what happens once that condition is met. Don't worry about the other conditions – we'll add those later.
From the Task Selection window, click ‘New Task' and write ‘Send SMS'. After you hit the green tick, tap the ‘+' button to add the action. Click the ‘Phone' option and select ‘Send SMS'. In the next screen, you can specify the number to send the SMS to (tap the magnifying button to access your address book) and write the message that you want to send. Tick the check box if you want the SMS to be stored in your messaging app once it has sent, and tap OK when you're done.
Now you can go back and add the second and third conditions, which are that it's a weekday and you're at work. Note: you can only complete the third condition when you're physically at work. Tap the 18.00 button and click ‘Add'. Tap ‘Day', tap ‘Month Day' and change it to ‘Week Day'. Then tap on all of the weekdays (or whatever days you work) and tap the green tick. Finally, tap on the 18.00 button again and select ‘Add > Location'. Press the button in the bottom right corner to get your smartphone's GPS to find you on the map. Once it has pinpointed your location, press OK. In the Name Context box, write “Workplace” and hit OK. Press the tick button in the bottom toolbar, and you're done!