Android App Review: Locale
As Apple tightens the thumbscrews on potential app developers, manufacturers of Android phones lure developers with open arms and open-source. And it's working: by some reports, the Android Market is growing at a much faster rate than the ol' iPhone app store. But are the new apps worth their weight in code?
Take Locale, for instance. It takes advantage of the multi-tasking that's built into Droid devices (but is only now on the slate for the next generation iPhone). Locale runs in the background, "monitoring conditions" that the user sets. You can set a condition called "Lady Gaga Concert - Awesome!": you plug a time frame or location into Locale, tell it how to make your phone behave (set ringer volume to high), and there you go! You can set a condition called "Weekly meeting," give Locale the time or location, and tell it to silence your phone's ringer. Pretty neat, huh?
But, um, there's this handy little volume control right on the side of my Eris where I can set the ringer without digging through the layers of an app menu. Ringer volume isn't the only thing Locale will let you set: Bluetooth can be enabled or disabled if you don't want strangers toothing you on the tube, GPS can be disabled if you want to hide, etc. All are settings you can make without an app to hold your hand through the process. Locale will let you plan ahead for those cases when you know you'll want more or less cowbell, but do you really need the help? And would you pay $9.99 for it?
If you've got app fever and money to burn, here's a QR ("Quick Response") code - use ScanLife or another QR app to read it with your phone's camera and quickly locate it in Android Market.