Automate it

Sponsored App Review: AutomateIt

November 1, 2012 - Written By Tom Dawson

Our smartphones today are so powerful that in some cases they make the laptop we bought a year or so ago look like a dinosaur, with this in mind you’d think our devices would be doing everything for us. It might be a dream for us to have everything automated but, even still, these devices require a lot of user intervention to get tasks done. There have been numerous attempts at simplifying this and some manufacturers even supply the software within their skins but, there’s yet to be a complete solution. Today we’re taking a look at one such app that hopes to become that perfect solution. Today we’re going to be reviewing AutomateIt.

Description:
This is an app that will automate tasks for you. Thankfully though, this isn’t another assistant app that thinks it knows better, with AutomateIt you’re firmly in charge of what triggers and what happens as a direct result of them. It’s certainly a powerful app as well, making it easy to do some advanced features that require root or just helping you maintain your battery on your terms, without a pesky battery app in the way. AutomateIt provides you with the tools to get your phone under control, just the way you want it.

How It Works:Setting the app up is real easy to do and all you have to do is download it from the Play Store. Getting up and running with the app is really quite easy. The UI here is akin to that of other ICS apps and features swiping from pane-to-pane, making it easy to set actions up. The whole UI is really quite intuitive and makes setting more advanced features a breeze.

The app will ask you for root privileges if you’re rooted, this is for stuff like GPS and killing of apps. It’s super easy to get started and add in your own rules. Triggers are used to create Rules within the app. It’s through this method that AutomateIt knows what to do, why and when. There are also an incredible amount of settings and variables to change how the app behaves. This really is automation on your terms, there’s little that this gem of an app can’t do and once you get used to it, you can have your phone doing pretty much everything.

Let’s go ahead and set up a new rule for an example. I’m a little strange in that I try not to use WiFi outside of my home, for one they need me to sign in and they’re never really that fast, also, my 3G is perfectly fast enough on the go. So, let’s set up an event that will make my phone turn WiFi back on when I get home shall we? To do that, we need to set up a trigger for the rule so, in the Trigger pane we select Location Trigger from the list and select home:

 

Next, we need  to go ahead and set up the action, which is going to be WiFi State, which we can turn on or turn off. This is obviously the main event but, realistically, there is more to do with the triggers. Which is where the app really comes into its own.

 

This is just one example of what the app can do and the great thing about it is that the whole thing is as good as you can make it do as much as you want it to do. For instance, another example I have running is to down my brightness down to 25% when it turns 22:00, I could just use automatic brightness but I have never found a phone that does it how I like, this enables automation but at my control. Which is great as I know that a lot of people out there are very particular about how you handle your phones.

There’s also the added benefit of having a rules market in which you can download rules that consist of predefined triggers, making it a whole lot easier for you to start using the application. These examples will help you realize the potential of the app and can get you on your feet.

If your native tongue isn’t English, then not to worry as AutomateIt is localized in 14 different languages. If you want to see whether or not the app is in your language or not then take a look at the website.

AutomateIt comes in a couple of different versions, there is a free version, which we’ve focused on here, as well as a paid version that offers a lot more. Ads are removed from the app and there are added triggers as well. Composite actions are a new addition to the Pro version of the app and allow for the use of more than trigger as well as the introduction of logic. The Pro version of app is really well worth it as there’s a lot of additions that enable you to do even more. If you want to take a look at the Pro version then take a look at it in the Play Store.

If you want a real sort of crash course in how to use the app, the developers have put together an excellent YouTube video here:

Opinion: For quite some time now I’ve been wanting something that will help me do the sort of tasks I’m constantly doing with my phone, or those little things that you either forget to do or just annoy the hell out of you. With AutomateIt you can have your phone completely under your control and thanks to the high level of variables on offer here you’ll rarely be without an option that suits your liking. There’s little to worry about battery either, as you can control how often the service polls for events which is yet another way you can take control of how your phone works.

Ratings

  • Speed (4/5) – For newcomers it might take some time to get up and running but, for the most part, AutomateIt is a speedy app.
  • Features (5/5) – If you want more control over your phone then this is the app for you, there are so many variables and choices to take it’s unreal.
  • Theme (5/5) – Taking design cues from Android 4.0 and above is a big win in our book, the UI is fluid and easy to get to grips with.
  • Overall (5/5) – For those that want to call the shots a little more on their device, AutomateIt is the app you’ve been waiting for.

Pros

  • AutomateIt has so many options that you can really control just how everything you want doing is done.
  • Easy to use UI will have people automating tasks really quickly and quite often.
  • Being able to download rules from the built-in store is a real boon for those who are a little lost.
  • Asking for root when available shows that the developer has an idea of Android users today.

 

Cons

  • Could be a little confusing for new users at first

Conclusion: Do I think people should go out there and give the app a try? Of course I do, if you want to have some kind of control over your device then AutomateIt is perfect. There’s so much on offer that you’ll be struggling to not find something you want to do with the app. From simple tasks like turning on music when headphones are plugged in to advanced location aware events, AutomateIt does it all. Not only that but the level of control that is passed on to the user is absolutely brilliant. This is how these sort of apps should be and I’m glad that this app is available as a sign of just what you can achieve with Android.