I bought the very first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1, when it was first released over two years ago. Even then, Locale was big news for the platform, having won the very first Android Developer Challenge. I have been using it on all my Android phones since then, and I continue to be impressed by it.
Locale is the killer app for Android. It embodies everything that Android is capable of, and everything that Apple refuses to allow in iOS. My phone can now be smart enough that I don’t have to babysit its settings everywhere I go; it knows when to be discreet and when to be secure. No other mobile OS can do that.
For a quick background, Locale is an application for automating changes to your phone’s settings based on a configurable set of “situations”. You define a set of “defaults”, and then each situation is comprised of a set of “conditions” and “settings”. When a situation’s conditions are met, the associated settings override the defaults; when the conditions are no longer met, Locale returns to the default settings. By combining multiple situations together in a priority list, your phone can make intelligent decisions, and seamlessly switch between multiple situations as they become active or inactive.
But what makes Locale even better is that it was designed from the beginning to be extensible. You can find plugins on the Market that add new conditions and settings. Because of Android’s ability to share data between applications, these plugins can even go so far as to use context from, or modify behavior of, other applications installed on your phone. As an example, the Astrid task manager allows you to attach a location to your tasks, and integrates with Locale as a condition when you reach those locations.
But for a more concrete example of just what’s possible, I’d like to show you what my current Locale conditions and settings are.
- Defaults: Wifi off, Ringer volume 85%, Vibrate on, Media volume 70%, Password lockscreen on
- Night (Time 10pm-7am): Ringer off, Vibrate off
- Work (Location): Wifi on, Ringer off, Vibrate on,
- Headphones (Headphones connected): Media volume 20%
- Home (Location): Wifi on, Ringer volume 100%, Password lockscreen off
The Locale plugins that I use to accomplish this:
- Locale Password Lock Plug-in by Willem Stoker
- Locale Media Volume Plug-in by two forty four am
- Headphones Plug-in by two forty four am
Color me happy.