Review: Android App – Llama

One of the first Apps I played with on Android was Locale – the idea of my phone managing its profiles and performing other actions based on where it (and hopefully I) was, fascinated me. Unfortunately Locale soon came out of Beta and became a paid app – and for Android Market quite an expensive one too.

So when someone pointed me at Llama I was interested to try it out, even more so when I saw it was free! Llama essentially learns (via cell tower triangulation) locations you tell it to, and then allows you to set-up rules for profiles that it can enable/disable based on your location and the time of day. So tell Llama you’re at home, and roughly how long, and it will take readings from the cell towers it can talk to during that time frame, establishing a geographic area it will associate as your home. If you want to you can have much greater accuracy by telling Llama to use your GPS receiver for positioning, but of course, as it warns you, this will reduce your battery life considerably.

Once I’d set-up my home and work areas I then set-up some profiles. This didn’t take much work as Llama comes pre set-up with some logical work/home profiles already. So for example, when I’m at home Llama sets my phone to ring audibly. Until a second condition sets in, if I’m at home between 10pm and 6.30am, set the phone to silent. I might push this back to 7am as twitter doesn’t obey the day/night rules of any one country! After 6.30am my phone is back to its normal, noisy, profile until I arrive in the work defined area, at which point it goes silent again. This is my personal phone so that’s perfect for me, but if it was a company phone you could remove this condition, or go to vibrate etc. There is also a ‘lock’ feature (the padlock icon) allowing you to lock a particular profile in place, and over-ride any location based changes that would normally occur.

Llama lets you set-up many profiles, so you can fine tune your level of noise, quiet, vibration etc. as much as you want. And Llama is constantly improving, in the “Experimental” section is the ability to turn on location hints such as WiFi networks or Bluetooth devices, so you can literally have profile changes when you come into range of a certain WiFi Access point or a friend based on their device Bluetooth id.

OK, so Llama doesn’t yet have the actions ability that Locale does via its range of extensive (paid for) plug-ins such as posting a Tweet or sending an SMS at a certain location, but I’m not sure how much I’d use those features once the novelty had worn off, and these additional functions might be on the horizon from the active development team. Overall Llama has a rating of 4.7 out of 5, which is exactly where I’d place this excellent App, possibly even 4.8! As an added bonus at the bottom of screen is an occasional Llama fact, so its an educational tool as well…

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