Today, I would like to present to you one of the ADC2 (Android Developer Challenge 2) winners in the “Productivity/Tools’ category. Tasker is a tool that’s designed to automate many processes and actions. The app is so powerful that’s difficult to find the right words to describe it. Hopefully, I can shed some light on this amazing app in our rigid test.
|Tested version||Latest version|
|1.0.8||Varies with device|
Features & Use
Many of you are surely familiar with Locale, a tool that let’s you set-up automatic profiles. Tasker expands on that and let’s you do much more.
Tasker may seem a bit hard to grasp, but once you understand the way Tasker works you can make the app do very complex things.
A number of interesting and informative tips about the app are displayed when you start-up Tasker. Make sure to read them through carefully! They will help you understand how Tasker functions. Once you’ve gone through them all, you come to the profiles. Here you view, edit or delete your profiles.
Tasker makes a difference between profiles and tasks. The idea is that your profiles can trigger different tasks. You can, for example, set-up a profile that accomplishes a certain task every night at midnight. Within each task you can have multiple actions. Switching your phone to silent automatically at a certain time is a possibility, for example.
Okay, so it may not seem like anything innovative and special so far, but Tasker offers you a wide spectrum of additional features with different profiles and tasks. Tasker can even work with variables and “what if” queries. With some basic programming skills all of this is easy to master.
In the profiles you can select the following options that can trigger a task:
- Opening an application
- A certain time
- Day (day of the week, day of the month, etc.)
- Specific status (Flight mode, battery level, calendar entry etc.)
- Event (incoming call, usb cable connected etc.)
You can link multiple options to a specific profile. This way you can start up a task on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm, for example.
Each task can perform different actions. There can be one or more actions at once. You can also connect a task with a what-if query, which means that an action can only be completed if certain criteria are met. All the different actions available can be divided into the following categories:
- Alert (screen alert, vibration, notifications etc.)
- Application (open & close application, calendar entry etc.)
- Audio (Change ringtone, Loud/Quiet etc.)
- Display settings
- Encryption (only available in the version downloaded from the developer’s site)
- File (Open, close and copy files etc.)
- Media (Play music, open pictures etc.)
- Miscellaneous (Speak, change time zone, start script etc.)
- Network (Wifi on/off, Bluetooth on/off etc.)
- Phone (Call, send text message, contacts etc.)
- Tasker (perform what-if queries etc.)
- Variable (add, change etc.)
- 3rd Party (Plugins from other software producers)
I think that the idea behind this app should be clear now. To help you get started with using Tasker, here’s a little tutorial for you.
Let’s say you want to make Tasker dim the screen when the battery level is low. That way you can save a lot of battery power and get an extra day of cell phone life out of it :)
First, you have to set-up a profile by pressing “New” and selecting “State”. In this category pick “Batter Level”. Here you can adjust the level from 0-20%, for example (you can obviously define these limits yourself).
Then you go to the “Task” screen where you’ll need to click on “New” in the top right corner. You can change the name of the task to something like “Display setup battery low”, for example. Using the small plus sign at the bottom edge you can add additional actions to this task. There you can select “Display” and then “Display Timeout” where you can select the time interval after which the screen automatically shuts off (20 seconds for instance). Finally, you can add another action with the + button and go to “Display Brightness” where you can adjust the level to 50. Simply press Done to finish the job and activate your Low Battery Profile.
Stop by our AndroidPIT Forum for more tips and ideas on how to make better profiles.
Bottom Line: Nothing can beat Tasker in terms of functions! One of the best apps that I know!
Screen & Controls
Once you’ve tried out Tasker, you’ll understand why Tasker didn’t become the overall winner in the Google ADC 2. The structure and layout are very confusing and it’s really hard to get the hang of it. It’s going to be a challenge for normal users to set-up complex functions. I have the feeling that a lot of emphasis was placed on the number of functions while little attention was paid to user-friendliness and clarity. It’s a real shame given the fact that Tasker is such a strong app otherwise.
Bottom Line: A lot of work needs to be done on user-friendliness and the general layout. Thankfully, the developers added some comprehensive tips to guide through using the app. You can also find out about the app and its functions on the homepage.
Speed & Stability
Tasker runs quickly and smoothly without crashing.
Tasker is about 1.6 MB in size and cannot be saved to the SD card at the moment (Froyo).
Tasker can be downloaded for £3.99 or about 4.80€ from the Android Market.
The price may seem a bit steep, but the number of functions justifies the cost. For those of you that aren't so computer savvy, you can take a look at the app and then return thanks to the return policy system.