For all the talk of an open source Android experience, there are few apps that actually crack open the heart of Google’s smartphone and tablet OS and make the most of its customisation options. Tasker puts those developers happy to churn out an iOS port in the shade by showing just how flexible Android can really be. This great tool isn’t just for display though, its huge array of options are genuinely life-enhancing. Just how great technology should be!
Listing everything Tasker can do would render this review almost as long as War and Peace, so it’s probably better to give you a sweet taste of what’s available rather than ramble on and on….
Say you want to avoid drifting into low battery through too much Wi-Fi and 3G usage. It is possible to turn both off through Android’s ‘Settings’ menu but that’s a hassle to do every time you’re worried about your battery life. Also, when’s the right point to turn off 3G? At 48 per cent battery, 30 per cent or even 15 per cent? Tasker allows you to set a common rule for your Android so when you reach that final 10 per cent, you’re automatically barred from the internet until you can find a charger and plug socket.
That’s just one small example of this app’s mighty prowess though. Other uses for Tasker include the ability to kill Browser after so many page views, set functions to occur at specific times of the day and block specific app abilities while leaving the rest of the app free to use. Not only do lots of these functions replace the need for numerous individual tool apps, they also offer a more expansive range of options too. With so much to fiddle around with, Tasker can be a fairly intimidating prospect at first. Thankfully, a detailed online tutorial clears up most sources of confusion and time spent experimenting does the rest.
Clearly some people won’t want to arrange their Android to send routine SMS reminders to record the latest X Factor episode but others will take disproportionate pride in routinely nagging their other half every Saturday evening. Additonally, to get GPS functionality on Android 2.3 phones you’ll need to download Tasker directly from its internet home.
Ultimately, any time spent setting up this tool for your personal use is trebled in time saved in the long run. Besides, if the whole purpose of an Android smartphone is to make your life easier then we can’t fault Tasker for achieving just that.
The Bottom Line
Tasker is prohibitively expansive but pretty much essential once you get the hang of it.
Version reviewed 1.1u2
Requires Android 1.6 or higher