Microsoft Invades Android…From Israel

Microsoft is back to writing actual, gasp, software, sort of. This time it looks like they’re even abandoning their own Windows device and introducing on{X} to Android phones only. I think though, their goal is to capture information for Bing and develop real-time sharing using Facebook’s data.

on{X} is an application for your Android phone that “helps you remotely program your phone.” Caution though, this app is not for the novice user. In other words, programmers only, or at least someone with fundamental experience programming in Javascript. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it, it just means, you can’t use it and understand what’s going on. I was lost (I know HTML and that’s it), but the concept is cool. Check out this promo video:

Basically, the app connects to your smartphone and Facebook account (why Facebook only?):

Once you’re logged in, you’re ready to create rules. The rules are the backbone of the app and tell on{X} how and when to behave. Microsoft has developed 11 templates, or “recipes”, so programming is somewhat easier. You can edit the rules from your device, or use the easier on{X} website for the programming. I used a developed template to send an SMS with my location whenever my wife texts “where?”:

Unfortunately, when I tested the rule, it never worked…3 times. As far as my wife is concerned, I’m in AWOL. That could be a good thing, though I suspect she’ll get a bit hot under the collar.

The on{X} app looks like it’s going to be a pretty neat addition to Android, even though I’m too stupid much of a novice to code Javascript. My concern would obviously be malicious code being executed on someone’s device, though only the user has access to the rules, hence the connection to Facebook, I think.

If you’re a Javascript genius, take a crack at creating a recipe to manage your life. You can download the app or visit the on{X} app page for a QR code.

06/06/12 Update: If you’re interested in more “light” reading on this, you might check this story from BetaNews. The story gives a pretty good feature on why people dislike this app. Check out the comments too. As the author notes, a lot of the hatred for on{X} comes because of he Facebook forced login or because the app is from Microsoft. One comment I saw was from a reformed-hater: “Disregard my previous statement, the app is great for the End User, just wish there was another option to login beside facebook, I mean I have Teenagers on Facebook so I still have an account, more times than I care to mention I’ve been the FB Police with some of the stuff they post for the world to see. But the Facebook only login is going to hurt them.” I think a lot of people will have this same sentiment regarding the Facebook login.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.