19
Aug
NFCTaskLauncher-Thumb

Some of you probably don't think of many things when you hear the acronym "NFC". Those letters might conjure up thoughts of making mobile payments, and there's that cool ring that can unlock your smartphone, but there's not much else going on, right? Wrong. With an app like NFC Task Launcher, you can program your phone to do whatever you wish once it's near a NFC tag (which you place wherever you want them - car, nightstand, living room sofa, what have you). It's like Tasker, but centered around the use of these tags. Today the app has received a major update that fixes a slew of issues and introduces a few new features.

NFCTaskLauncher

The change log is quite long with this one. While there aren't many new features, what's there requires new permissions, so don't panic when it throws up the request. You will come out of the deal with a redesigned drawer, a new contact picker, and the ability to +1 things on Google+ from within the app.

What's New:

  • New drawer layout
  • Editing actions now possible
  • Added contact picker for Email, SMS and Call items
  • Re-added Airplane mode for 4.3 users (under Experimental)
  • Added Google+ +1 integration

The list of bug fixes dwarfs the number of new features, but it's a relatively complex app. With great power comes the ability to greatly screw things up. Here are a list of things that the app should now get right.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixes closing apps with root access
  • Fixes issues with Time tasks: Time tasks should now work in all languages and when the device is sleeping. (new permission REQUEST_WAKE_LOCK)
  • Lock screen controls improved. Clicking a notification will still show the lock screen (we can’t change that)
  • TTS will now try to speak in English if the default system locale is not available
  • MappedTagReceiver re-written to move almost all processing into a service
  • This should prevent the occasional ANR we see with this
  • This also speeds up processing from the users side (placebo) as they don't see a transparent activity hanging around
  • Can better handle network timeouts and background updating without ANR
  • Fixed issues with Settings where options would not saved in some cases
  • Wifi tasks should handle disconnect / reconnect to the same network better
  • Fixed reported issues from dev console (please hit report if you get any force close issues)

The app is free to use, but the NFC tags that it requires aren't. New users might want to pick up a few before giving the app a go, but it's not completely necessary. NFC Task Launcher provides links to purchase tags from within the app itself.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. He now lives in the City of Bridges, adjusting to the presence of actual snow. His phone of choice is the HTC One.

  • http://us.playstation.com/ps4 Mark Cerny

    That drawer is called the "Navigation Drawer".

  • CoreRooted

    I've been using this for about a month now. So far, it's the hands-down best when it comes to task management for NFC tags. I have ~10 tags around to perform various tasks. I was using Tasker for a lot of this stuff, but with this, I have pretty much abandoned Tasker altogether. The paid upgrade allows for geofenceing, battery tasks, and time based tasks.

    Now I have to take the update for a spin. :)

    • Nic Hilgendorf

      I like the NFC technology, but I'm just having a hard time understanding why people are moving to something that requires more interaction from the user. Right now Tasker does everything that I need it to do automatically without my input (based of my calendar, Wifi, location, etc).

      Can you share some examples of what profiles you have setup with NFC tags that Tasker couldn't do? Just trying to get a feel for where NFC's niche is.

      • CoreRooted

        Sure. So, I have a toggle task that launches ingress when I tap my phone to my camel pack (I don't play without plenty of water; Phoenix, AZ). So, when I tap my phone, it enables my GPS, sets my display timeout to 5 minutes, turns off system volume, turns on media volume, pauses 15 seconds, launches my music and then finally ingress. Tap it again and it reverses all of that. I have another one on my bedstand that puts my phone into night mode when I set it down. There's one on the end table in the living room that launches my Revue remote. One on my desk to put my phone into a media/work mode.

        But, NFC is only part of it. I paid for the geofence/time/network features too.

        • Nic Hilgendorf

          Thanks for the reply. I've got a better idea where these might come in handy and will do some playing around. Never having played with this app I didn't realize all the different triggers that were available, I just assumed that it was NFC only. Very cool.

          • CoreRooted

            LOL. Yeah. It's replaced Tasker for me. While I LOVE Tasker and can easily write scripts for it, there are times when point and click simplicity is really nice.

  • TinFoilHats FTW

    I'm a little weary when a free app asks for account access... had one that needed the account names just to fill in your email when logging in (presumably) and now I get constant spam from the company to all the accounts that were on the phone despite my attempts to unsubscribe.

    • John Smith

      Indeed! Apps that can read your accounts and have internet access should be installed with extreme caution.

    • louched1

      As of the date of this posting, NFC Task Launcher hasn't dicked me once and I've been using it for a long time. You're correct though, that giving account access is something people shouldn't do without considering the source first.

    • Jeff B

      The account access is because this is one of the few apps that stores your settings via google's cloud and they use it in case you want to link your google account in a NFC task.

  • andy_o

    This NFC phone unlocking business seems to me not possible with stock Android. I think it has to be baked into the ROM like on AOKP (or presumably the Moto X) cause when the screen turns off or the phone is in the lockscreen NFC is turned off for security reasons. Not even CM has this option to keep it on when the screen is locked, and IIRC it used to but they took it out.

  • Josh Jennings

    I still can't get it to close Pandora correctly, even with root.