back to article Microsoft crowd-sources next Win Phone apps using Android

The world just got stranger: not only is Microsoft trying to write cool software again, it’s decided that Android is the ideal beta platform, in spite of its bitter worldwide spat with Google over patents. The app is called on{X}: users can set up custom recipes to get their Android phones responding to events, or if you want …


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  1. P. Lee
    Thumb Up

    Lots of good uses for this.

    Cool and open source equivilent available in 3, 2...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Time to spread your bets and see which OS will win big and which will lose large, is apple next for Microsoft? I see they are not bothering with RIM.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lots of good uses for this.

      And that comment pretty much sums up the major problem with open source developers - quick to copy other people's ideas but bereft of their own.

      Open Source - the "me too" developers of the world...

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Lots of good uses for this.

      Irrelivent (sic) and poorly spelt.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Watch who you call the copycats

        Microsoft might as well have bought and renamed Tasked - it's been around forever and I'm sure works better than MS' toy.

        Pot, kettle and all...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Facebook login??

      Onx looks interesting: nothing you can't do with SL4A, and you have to use JavaScript instead of <your favourite scripting language>, but at least you can create and test the scripts from a web browser. But requiring a Facebook login to install and use the app?

      The app requires access to nearly all Android permissions; and giving Microsoft free run of my phone without being allowed to see the source code was already spooking me out. But requiring a Facebook login is really over the top. Not surprising that it's being beat up so mercilessly on Google Play reviews.

  2. Quxy
    Thumb Down

    Unoriginal and late to the game

    There are any number of "smart events" apps that already do this, and Motorola's Android installations already include "smart actions" with a nice GUI front end to define the actions. (Their sample recipes include things like "Call my wife when I leave work", for instance.)

    Moreover, Android was designed to be simple to script, and many only slightly-geeky Android users have been writing scripts for their phones in Python, Perl, JRuby, Lua, BeanShell, JavaScript, Tcl, and shell since the introduction of the G1 four years ago.

    I'm not sure what anyone possibly believes Microsoft brings to the party, but given their deep antipathy toward all things Android, I wouldn't trust a Microsoft app within a mile of my Android devices.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I'm not sure what anyone possibly believes Microsoft brings to the party"

      Maybe something for all those millions who:

      1) Don't have a Motorola

      2) Don't want to script in Python, Perl, JRuby, Lua, BeanShell, JavaScript, Tcl, and shell (you say that as if it was easy to do on Android, even for advanced users)

      1. Quxy

        No... what _does_ Microsoft bring to the party?

        If you want "on{X}" actions on your Android phone, but don't want to write scripts and don't have a newer OS installation that comes with Google's own Smart Actions app bundled, simply download the damn app from the app store! (If you don't trust Google's apps, you certainly shouldn't be using their OS in the first place; and its integration with the OS is undoubtedly better than what a third party can do.)

        As an Android user, why on earth would I want to install an app from Android's sworn enemy (Microsoft's claim, not mine) and grant it access to my most private information (as indeed it requires)? I guess I might be able to rationalise the risk if Microsoft offered an app with a uniquely cool user interface; but in fact Microsoft has a truly dismal track record on user interfaces -- people have plenty of good reasons for using WIndows and MS Office, but usability isn't one of them!

        1. P. Lee

          Re: No... what _does_ Microsoft bring to the party?

          Sometimes what you want is simple and you can't find an app.

          For example, I'd like to disconnect bluetooth from my car when I arrive home. At the moment, my car is so close to the kitchen that if I forget to manually disconnect, my phone rings in the car, which I can't hear. So that's a very specific WIFI network to look for and a very specific BT disconnect.

          There probably is a simple way which I should look into, but perhaps this will encourage non-tcl users to play with their phone. A floss equivilent would certainly be handy on all those raspberry pies.

      2. toadwarrior

        Re: "I'm not sure what anyone possibly believes Microsoft brings to the party"

        What, you mother isn't a Beanshell guru?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But on{X} is a browser-based JavaScripting environment

        So you didn't answer the question -- if you don't want to script, how does Microsoft's on{X} help you??

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unoriginal and late to the game

      @Quxy - If you think scripting your phone is not very geeky, you really need to get out more.

      It's a phone.

      Unless you're a developer, programming a phone is not a normal activity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Scripting is not a normal activity?

        Given that an Android smart phone is primarily a hand held general purpose computer, I assume that your "scripting is not normal" argument applies equally to your desktop environment. Now I realize that Microsoft has tried its damndest to make an operating system that's difficult to automate, but you might really want to look into opportunities for taking back control of your own computer: scripting is a good place to start.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scripting is not a normal activity?

          If you actually read what I wrote - scripting a mobile phone is a geeky activity, if you think it isn't, you're not aware that you're a geek.

          I hope that you're talking about WP7 when you say that MS has tried its damndest to make an OS that's difficult to automate, because Windows NT series of OSes actually handle automation fantastically. Windows Scheduler is head and shoulders above cron, Windows has a number of excellent command shells and everything can be done from the command line and is thus automatable.

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  4. Eddy Ito


    Just when you thought it was over. Now we have Microsoft releasing "smartphone beta part deux". Pity it will never be on iTunes to complete the picture. Simply wonderful on so many levels.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: LOL

      Ouch! Insulting your potential customers as an excuse for being late...

      While the Apple "propaganda" does encourage the devote it is very careful to stroke the vanity of its customers and not insult them.

  5. MrWibble

    Sounds just like Tasker...

    Oh, and needing a facebook account to use? No ta.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Crystal Ball

    I like the idea and decided to peek into the future.

    For some reason the Windows Phone version seems to be struggling:

    I programmed on leave home, turn off the lights but it turns the washing machine; on shake, play some music but it just crashes...

    Worst of all, however, is I can't seem to be able to anything without "Clippy"*, some kind of animated paper clip, popping up and asking me if I want make an action for that.

    * torn between this and the imps that power the Raspberry personal disorganisers on the Discworld. Clippy won out though because the imps seemed to show the ability to learn from the past!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If this then that? anyone?

    1. Miek

      Re: If this then that?

      I see your this then that and raise you an if then else

  8. Anonymous Coward

    I've been using Locale to do this for years - when I get home, turn bluetooth off and WiFi on, and remove my PIN lock. When I'm in the car, turn BT and GPS on. When I'm at work, set my Talk status to Busy etc etc.

    Lots of nice plugins too for things like Astrid, so when I go to the supermarket it brings up a list of anything I'd made a note I wanted to get.

    I think Tasker does all this too, in a slightly less pretty but more powerful way.

    Reading the Microsoft stuff, their only benefit right now seems to be the ability to make scripts on your desktop, to be used on the phone. I'm not sure I like the idea of sharing scripts though, how many people need to text my girlfriend when I leave work??

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      " many people need to text my girlfriend when I leave work??"

      All of us. Saves those embarassing moments when you arrive home unexpectedly.......

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Do you really need to text /his/ girlfriend instead of yours?

        First time I see a secret affair being admitted on El Reg :-)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    “less strict security model of the Android platform is well suited for deploying early technology previews"

    To translate this from spin (Bullshit) speak they mean on a well used and mature mobile OS that MS would give it's right arm just to have %10 of Android's market share.

  10. winrez

    Windows everywhere

    I think after windows 8 is launched Android, IPad, and iPhone are gonna give Wii U a run for its money.

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