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Microsoft-developed on{X} is a flexible automation tool for Android

Microsoft-developed on{X} is a flexible automation tool for Android


Microsoft tool on{X} is an Android app that allows users to set inputs and outputs using data from their phone.

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Our phones are capable of collecting so much information (for good or ill) that it's a shame not to use it to make our lives easier. That's the reasoning behind on{X}, a programming tool that lets you to set automatic actions for your Android phone. Similar in principle to If This Then That, on{X} is a Play Store app that uses scripts or "recipes" from its website. It can use a wide range of environmental and online data, so you could get, for example, a reminder to grab an umbrella if you're at home, you're unlocking your phone for the first time in the morning, and it's scheduled to rain. If you're willing to learn some JavaScript, there's an API to build custom rules; otherwise, you can customize a list of templates pretty easily.

To be sure, many other apps include almost identical functions. Besides IFTTT, iOS has a built-in location-based to-do list, and Android app Tasker provides a full-featured GUI. Two things in particular are interesting, though. Firstly, on{X} is unusually streamlined and has some great functions — among other things, it can respond based on whether you're walking, running, or in a car. Second, it's developed by Microsoft. Israeli Information Platform and Experiences (IPE) project manager Shira Weinberg has told TechCrunch that the company is releasing an early build on Android because of its looser app restrictions, but the team generally works on enhancing location-based services for Bing and other Windows tools. If it works out, we wouldn't be surprised to see on{X} as a built-in Windows Phone feature someday, where it would easily outstrip the native automation on any other phone OS.