Thursday, July 10, 2014


I've been busy with the kiddos lately, and as a result, haven't' had as much time to play around with new toys as I have in the past. Hence, my posts have been a bit slow. That's about to change as there are simply too many things backed up to post about. Let's get at it.

One of the apps that I've seen both LifeHacker and DroidLawyer mention recently is Commandr. The concept is simple: you use google now to control more of your phone. Turn on your flashlight, your wifi, GPS, control your music, read text messages. And you can expand the built-in options with Tasker. And, it's a free app.

What's not to like? It sounds great. I love talking to my phone. I love Google Now. But, I'm more interested in the concept of Commandr than I am in its actual use so far.

To work, Commandr makes use of the note taking function of Google Now. So to turn on the flashlight, you say "Ok Google, take a note turn on flashlight", then Google Now waits a few seconds to let you change your mind about what you've asked, and then your flashlight turns on. For me, the alternative, is simply firing up the phone and hitting the flashlight widget on the home screen (I use it as a flashlight a lot). It's simply quicker.

And the built in list of commands is relatively small, though the developer let's you vote for which commands should be added in future releases.

The real power seems to come from the use of Tasker. Tasker is an app that let's you control most aspects of your phone when certain events occur or whenever you want them to occur. Perhaps when you are connected to your home wi-fi, you want the volume settings adjusted and car mode turned off. Tasker can automate that.

This seems to make Commandr infinitely more useful; however, Tasker is not for the faint of heart. It opens up your phone to you, but you have to know how to use it. And it isn't the easiest app to learn. In fact, a number of the negative reviews discuss that you need a programmers mind to use it. I'm not sure I fully agree with that, but I can't say I disagree with it. Tasker really takes time to understand.

In short, I really, really, really want to like Commandr. I'm anxious to see how it develops. But out of the box, I'm not convinced it is going to change how I use my phone, because I'm not convinced I'm going to use it regularly.

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