Review – Microsoft’s on{x} App for Android

By Guest Contributor

Microsoft’s Israeli arm recently released an Android app called on{x} that allows users to build recipes to automate tasks on their phone.

After logging in via Facebook, users have the option of choosing from a short list of recipes (it’s all feeling a little like ifttt.com), which can be tweaked.

They can also create (code) their own recipes using JavaScript APIs. Sample code looks like this:
device.screen.on(“unlock”, function(){
var notification = device.notifications.createNotification(‘Hello world!’);
notification.show();
console.log(‘Hello World notification was sent to the phone’);
});

Getting Started & Ease of Use

on {x} automates, but has a long way to go. Although there is a detailed ‘Getting Started’ section that covers most of the basics for creating recipes to suite your individual needs, you will need to be a bit of a geek to get it working.

Just scrolling through this information section can be overwhelming if you are eager, but lacking a little JavaScript base knowledge.

The problem with creating your own recipes is that you can’t do it from your phone. For that you need to log onto your computer which, for persons like me, is a small issue.

I prefer to be able to do things as I think of them, instead of writing a ream of  To Do’s and maybe remembering to look at them.

Chances are, when I do remember, I will, once again, be away from my computer. If I’m going to spend time creating recipes on my computer to use on my phone, I would rather use a site like http://ifttt.com which has 1743 pages of recipes and an incredibly easy creation method; no coding skills needed.

My Impressions

Perhaps, once the beta phase is over – a phase aimed primary at developers– and there are more recipes that users can easily adjust to get results that are locally and lifestyle relevant, we will be able to get practical solutions for our cellphones.

Of course, there are other options, like Tasker and Locale, which, while tricky to use and aren’t free, don’t require coding, but they lack that Microsoft allure that those of us curious about the company find so irresistible.

All in all, on{x} is a great first attempt, but has a long way to go if Microsoft is aiming to appeal to more than dedicated JavaScript coders. The app is available for free in the Google Play Store.

This was a guest post by Charlotte Jackson

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