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New Microsoft app, on{X}, brings automation to Android

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Android(s goog) enthusiasts have a new way to control their smartphone or tablet, courtesy of Microsoft(s msft). The company released a new Android app and supporting web service Tuesday called on{X}, which lets users create JavaScript code or simple recipes that add automated tasks to their connected device.

Some examples from the Bing blog, where on{X} was announced:

  • Wouldn’t you like to program your phone to automatically send a reply SMS with your current location as you’re driving when your wife texts you a “where?” message?
  • How about programming your phone to automatically show you today’s agenda as you step into the office?
  • Or show you the weather when you wake up in the morning?

I like the idea here, although it’s targeted at tech-types and not mainstream consumers. However, with the simple recipe approach, anyone can get started with it. I’m not a programmer but I was able to easily set up a test rule that opens my browser to Techmeme’s site whenever I unlock my phone.

Three aspects of on{X} are intriguing. First, it provides user access to the sensors on a smartphone or tablet to help make things happen. That means access to location, core apps, the camera, microphone and more.

Second, the back-end of the service is in the cloud. Users can program or create recipes in a browser and they’re pushed down to the on{X} app on an Android device. Lastly, it’s interesting that Microsoft debuted the app on Android and not on its own Windows Phone devices. I suspect that’s because the Android crowd has a history of tinkering with phones, custom ROMs and apps.

Regardless, the concept is solid: Our smartphones are smart, but could be smarter by taking advantage of sensors that can see, hear or sense the environment around them. I’ll keep on{X} on my device for a few weeks and see what kinds of interesting ideas I can cook up with it.

8 Responses to “New Microsoft app, on{X}, brings automation to Android”

  1. Felipe Coimbra

    If you’ve been developing on on{X}, I have created a marketplace for us to share our recipes. I’ll add more features and improve it if people find it useful.

    People can post it for free or paid. Of course it’ll be interesting to see how it goes if some of you decide to charge for your Recipes. Some have said that, once they pay, technically they could share the code for free with everyone else. So, we’ll see what people will actually do.

  2. Mark Mayhew

    why do people like to hear themselves bitch so much (have either of you guys noticed how busy the forum at on{x} is, right now, at 4:00am?)

  3. Mike P

    It’s amazing that they didn’t foresee that many people would not want to risk their location and other activity related data being spread around the world through the privacy destroying service that is Facebook!

  4. Really. You failed to post that Facebook is required to use this app. It’s an early app that is already falling flat on its face in the market. Not everyone has Facebook. However, many of the non-Facebook users are on Google+.

  5. Redwan Huq

    It looks like most potential users are casting it aside solely because it requires Facebook login. Anyways, it looks like a combination of ifttt + Tasker. Looked promising, but the forced FB login is an instant no-way.