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Microsoft's on{x} pushes mobile automation to new heights, but only for Android users [video]

Zach Epstein
June 5th, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a new app and set of APIs called on{x}, which pushes smartphone automation to new heights. The app allows users to write custom scripts that automate various smartphone functions based on time, location and a number of parameters similar software does not currently support. On{x} opens the door to a wide range of functionality that isn’t widely available anywhere else, but for the time being, users with smartphones powered by Microsoft’s own Windows Phone platform won’t have access to any of it.

In a demonstration video posted by Microsoft on Tuesday, Microsoft researchers provide a number of intriguing examples of functionality that might be automated by on{x}. In one example, the app automatically sends a text message to the user’s boyfriend when she leaves work to let him know she is on her way to meet him. In another, the app’s “modeOfTransport” API is utilized to make a smartphone automatically adjust its settings based on whether the user is walking, running or driving a car.

While writing the scripts to trigger various actions does require some programing knowledge, Microsoft includes a number of “recipes” for various actions on its on{x} website that can be pushed to devices without any alterations needed on the part of the user. Users can manage all of their recipes on the on{x} website as well, and new ones can easily be sent to devices right from the site’s control panel.

So what’s the catch? In an interesting twist, on{x} is only available for Android devices.

A video showcasing the new app follows below.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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