Friday, February 15, 2013


I ran across this fabulous app recently while researching Samsung's Tectiles. Tectiles are programmable NFC stickers, more or less an RFID tag. Someone in one of the forums I was reading mentioned that he didn't use the Tectile app, but rather had Tasker do the work. Tasker is the most awesome app I've ever seen for a phone. It's not free, in fact it is on the expensive side for an app at $6.75.

Tasker is "total automation for Android". It's a little hard to figure out at first, but well worth the time and trouble to learn it. The front page on the Tasker website mentions a long list of things you can do with it, but really, it's all about automation.

Here are a few things I've done with it:

  • Automatically turn on wifi when I get to work. Automatically turn it off when I leave. This saves battery life since the phone isn't searching for wifi while I'm driving home. Turning it on is based on location. I opted for the less power intensive cell tower location method, which means the wifi may turn on when I'm a mile from the office, but that isn't a huge power drain at all since it will only be a few minutes until I'm actually in the office. I could have chosen to do GPS location which is much more accurate, but it is more of a power drain to have Tasker check location that way. I've set up the same at home so wifi automatically goes on when I get close to home and turns off when I leave.
  • As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm in a dead spot at home, so I set up a profile in Tasker to automatically set my phone to be able to receive calls over the wifi when I'm there. Again, it's location based, so it's automatic and I don't have to think about it. To do this requires a free plugin to Tasker called "Secure Settings". This plugin has the ability to change the setting to receive internet calls.
  • Automatically turn on Pandora when I plug in the headphone jack. I have a miniplug in my car connected to my car stereo, so when I plug it to my phone, Pandora automatically starts, and automatically shuts off when I unplug it.
  • Turn off the phone ringer while in meetings. Tasker can read my calendar, and for all events marked as "busy", it will turn off the phone ringer and notification sounds at the start of the calendar event and turn them back on at the end of the event.
There are literally hundreds of things this app can to do automate tasks like this. I've only started to scratch the surface, but you can make full-fledged Android apps with this. Install the "Tasker App Factory", another free plugin for Tasker, and you can export your Tasker profiles as an apk that you can upload and sell in the Play store. You can create user interfaces and react to user input with what is essentially a programming language that does a seemingly unlimited number of things with your phone.

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