Microsoft’s on{x} revolutionises Android with remote programming

6 Jun 2012

Yes, you read that right. Probably the greatest innovation to hit Android has been developed by Microsoft, surprisingly enough.

Say you could make your phone automatically text your other half to let them know you are on the way home from work? And, when you arrive home, what if your phone could remind you to buy milk?

On{x} (pronounced on-ex) lets you control and extend the capabilities of your Android phone using a JavaScript API to remotely programme it.

The examples above are just two of myriad things on{x} can programme your phone to do. All you have to do is download and install the app, visit the website and choose a ‘recipe’ to push out to your device. These ready-made codes can programme your device to tell you to bring an umbrella if it’s going to be a rainy day or launch your music app when you start walking.

The technology will inevitably end up on Windows Phone devices, but this is a trickier platform to launch on, requiring a more fully developed iteration. Android’s lower security model makes it an ideal platform to test a beta release before it hits Microsoft’s mainstream.

Customisable codes

The triggers and actions in each code can easily be amended to suit your needs, and you don’t need to be a coding whiz to do it.

Clever developer types can get stuck into the API and develop their own recipes. Details of these will remain private by default, but proud programmers can publish their codes, which will be made available to the public following a review. One handy suggestion on the site’s forum is a code to text your spouse when your battery is low – no doubt that will make it to the recipes page soon.

Microsoft’s Israeli Information Platform and Experiences team, who are behind on{x}, say they have unlocked the true power of the smartphone and, if this technology takes off, there’s no end to the functions you can add that will tailor your phone to best serve your daily needs.


Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.