on{x} by Microsoft. Works only on… Android!

Time for some Microsoft bashing… err… promoting! Yup, I don’t do that too often, for obvious reasons, in my opinion.

There are plenty of apps out there which let Android users automate tasks, performing their pre-defined actions when specific conditions are met. Microsoft thinks it can do one better than that, though, and has plans for a whole scripting system based on giving its users a large degree of control over just how their phones behave, without requiring lots of custom apps for every given situation.

Called on{X}, Microsoft is first debuting the system for Android, where it uses JavaScript to interpret end-user instructions. In order to make it accessible (despite its rather technical underpinnings), Microsoft breaks the relevant chunks of JavaScript code into triggers and actions, all configurable through a convenient GUI. By stringing together these bits, users create on{X} rules, which can then be shared with others online.

For instance, one on{X} rule might contain the triggers for the time being 8 AM and the local weather forecast mentioning rain, with the action that an alert should be displayed on the phone advising you to grab an umbrella. Others might contain triggers that detect when you’re out on a jog and a text message from a friend arrives, letting your phone automatically text back that you’ll respond when you’re done with your workout.

This certainly sounds like a system with great potential, and a lot of flexibility. However, its success or failure could lie with the strength of its development community, and just how appealing the pre-configured rules it shares with other users are.

While on{X} hits Android first, Microsoft hopes to bring it to other mobile platforms in the future. Yes, you read that correctly. on{X} is not supported on Windows Phone!
Hmm, a perfect place to quote Alanis Morissette:

And isn’t it ironic…don’t you think
A little too ironic…and, yeah, I really do think…

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