I’ve used a number of mobile task applications over the past 10 years, but only recently have these apps started to embrace the use of location. Instead, most task lists are time-sensitive with due dates, interval reminders and alerts. There’s nothing wrong with that; most tasks have to be done by a particular time. As the population becomes more mobile, however, time-based efforts should be supplemented with the context of location; especially since most smartphones support GPS technology.
Location Aware, a free app for Android, is a software title that combines task management with location. It’s neither the newest nor the only app in this class, but it’s simple, and it works. I read about Location Aware on Amit Agarwal’s useful Digital Inspiration blog a few days ago, and the app is already a daily staple on my Nexus One smartphone. I nearly forgot to grab some half & half — I can’t drink my coffee without it — while on the road this morning, but since I had set up a reminder in Location Alert, I was reminded to stop at the supermarket when I was driving nearby.
Setting task reminders is pretty simple in Location Alert; you can enter addresses directly, or use the integrated map functionality. Task alerts can be configured for certain date ranges or can be recurring on a weekly basis. There are also four distance options to choose from, which tell the app how near or far you have to be to a task location before sounding the alert. There’s also a deadline setting that will sound an alert reminder even if you’re not near a task location, so the app could be useful for basic, time-sensitive tasks, although it’s not really geared for such.
If you use iOS and like the idea of Location Alert, you could try the similar Task Ave. for $2.99, which we reviewed in January. Or you can simply wait for iOS 5 to arrive next month, which will include a native Reminders app that supports location-based task alerts.