Welcome to the second edition of Editor’s Pick Of The Week. This week Sathya talks about a location based automation tool for Android devices, Llama.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve walked into your office, begun a discussion with your colleague, only to be disturbed by your loud notification tone? Or have a bunch of app updates/RSS feeds/ Other apps scheduled for auto-update when WiFi connection is available, only to forget enabling WiFi once you’re at home because you were preoccupied with some other work.
This happens to me often, and it often frustrated me that I’d remember to switch on WiFi late in morning, instead of previous night — or have a notification alarm sound off when I’m in the middle of a heated discussion. I sought our techie-buzz’s resident Android guru, Rajesh, for an app suggestion and I took Llama for a spin. Needless to say, it’s been one of the best apps that I’ve ever installed.
What is Llama?
Llama terms itself as a “Location Profiles” app which, honestly is quite an uninspiring name. Llama uses GSM cell phone tower locations to mark designated areas. And once you enter/leave the designated areas and upon on other conditions, Llama lets you trigger actions. Llama supports a whole lot of conditions and triggers — some of the parts of your Android phone Llama can act upon include:
- 2G/3G/4G network modes
- Play, pause and other media buttons
- Mobile Data (before Android 2.3 only)
- Run apps
- Screen brightness
allowing you to create events based on
- Current location
- Battery level
- Calendar events
- Phone start up and shut down
- Time of day
- Wifi networks
and so on. So how do I actually use this app? First, you’ll have to train Llama to ensure it knows what the areas are. I’ve defined some set of rules to automate few things that I would otherwise have to do manually.
The rules include:
- Switch off WiFi once I leave home – WiFi hotspots are rather rare here, and I’d enable it if required. This allows me to save on some battery life
- Switch on WiFi when I reach home – Enables dropbox, Google Currents, Google Play to auto update.
- Quiet at Work between 08:30 and 18:45, change to quiet every 15 minutes — Llama also allows for actions to be triggered at repeated intervals and at specific times. This rule automatically puts the phone on silent mode between the times mentioned, and the repeated interval check ensures that even if I accidentally enable sounds, it gets disabled.
- Switch to Normal once I leave Work — My phone doesn’t have to be silent mode anymore, once I leave work.
- No mobile data when connected to Wifi – Once I’m on Wifi, my phone doesn’t need mobile data enabled, neither do I need 3G enabled. Having these results in better battery backup.
- Disable 3G at work: The 3G coverage at my workplace is very spotty, with transition between 2G to 3G and vice versa happening very often, killing my battery. Having 3G disabled means that my battery lasts longer.
These are just some of the rules that I use, and Llama’s UI, though not pretty, is quite intuitive. Llama’s available for free on the Play store, though I went ahead and purchased the Donation version simply because the time I have saved using the app has been enormous.