Monday, December 4, 2017

Making your Android phone smarter by programming task automation using Automate

Automate is a freemium Android app developed by LlamaLab that enables you to perform task automation in your smartphone.

With it, you can really make your phone much more smarter by running programs constructed using simple flowchart called Flows. All programming in Automate is done graphically by drawing flowcharts (without writing a single line of code) by joining building blocks, whereby each block will perform a single task.

A sample Automate flow looks like this:

Some of the examples that you can program your phone with Automate to do smartly:
  • Every morning when you wake up, greet you with a female voice with weather information and major stock markets closing index point. Pick up your calendar event and read out your appointments in the day.
  • When you are driving your car, auto enable Bluetooth and auto connect your phone to your car's Bluetooth hands-free function, and auto answer any incoming calls. When you leave your car, auto disable Bluetooth and resume manual phone answering.
  • When you are approaching home, auto send a Whatsapp message to your spouse that you are on the way and will arrive soon.
  • When you arrive home, auto turn on WiFi function and connect to your home WiFi. When you leave home, auto turn off the WiFi function to save battery.
  • Whenever you open Spotify app at home, auto enable Bluetooth and connect to your wireless speaker. When you open Spotify at other places, it won't do this and will play the music using your phone's speaker instead.
  • Whenever you enter into your favourite cinema hall, auto mute your phone and set it to vibrate mode. Unmute it when you leave the place.

Automate comes with several hundreds of ready made building blocks. There are basically just 2 types of block:
  • Action block which has a single output (example: Enable WiFi)
  • Decision block which has 2 outputs, 1 for Yes and 1 for No (example: Is WiFi enabled?)
For decision block, you can set the evaluation to be tested immediately (example: Is WiFi enabled?) or wait for the condition to change (example: When WiFi is enabled or disabled).

The ready made building blocks are grouped in the following categories:
  • Apps
  • Battery & Power
  • Camera & Sound
  • Concurrency
  • Content
  • Date & Time
  • File & Storage
  • Flow
  • General
  • Interface
  • Location
  • Messaging
  • Sensor
  • Settings
  • Telephony
Here is an example of available blocks inside one of the categories above (Camera & Sound).

To use Automate, you can either:
  • Just run the sample flows that suit you
  • Create your own flows and run them
  • Download flows shared by other users in the community
  • Download flows from the community, and modify them to suit your need
Automate comes pre-installed with several useful sample flows.

There is also a user community for its users to upload and share their flows with other users. You can upload your flows in the community too.

Community flows are categorized into the following groups:
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Finance
  • Games
  • Health & Fitness
  • Home
  • Media & Audio
  • News & Magazines
  • Personalization
  • Photography
  • Productivity
  • Security
  • Shopping
  • Social
  • Sports
  • Tools
  • Transportation
  • Travel & Local
  • Tutorials & Examples
  • Weather
Below are some of the top rated community flows available for download:

A running instant in a flow is called a fibre. Each flow when executed will have one or more fibres.

The free version of Automate app is fully functional and ads-free, only with restriction of allowing up to 30 running blocks in all the running fibres. This is sufficient for most simple tasks. If you need to run more complex flows, or need to run a lot of flows concurrently, you can pay a small fee to upgrade to the Pro version.

If you configure Automate to run on system startup, all its running flows will resume from their previous running state even after a restart.

With Automate, you can make a lot of wonders in your phone, without writing a single line of code. All you need is constructing your logics with blocks and charting them into flows.


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