Facebook Home is neat, but Tasker Home would be awesome!

Screenshot 2013 04 09 16 03 49 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereI’ve already written a lengthy piece about my opinion on Facebook Home. While I think it’s  great idea, I don’t use Facebook myself, and frankly hate the company. What I don’t hate, however, is Tasker, and I think that there would be a lot of potential in a Tasker Home Android launcher.

When people ask what phone I have, I’m always tempted to say “Tasker.” The truth is that my phone is more Tasker than Android at this point, and I know others in the same situation. Despite it being so central to my Android experience, however, it has far less impact on my launcher and lock screen than I would like. Sure, I have both shortcuts for launching tasks and widgets for displaying info from Tasker there, but there’s still a lot of things that could only be achieved through a launcher made specifically for Tasker.

As an example, take Tasker’s scene system, which allows you to create your own interfaces for apps and other uses. Imagine what you could do with that and a launcher! Forget about that stupid Google search bar, you could put a TextEdit field right there on the home screen and tie it to whatever you wanted. Brightness slider on the home screen? No problem. Dedicated home screen for home automation controls, with sliders for dimming, sensor info, and so on? Sure!

You could use scene elements to launch apps, and in the process gain the ability to have any size image or text you want for the icon, without having to use widget workarounds. You could also change the scene elements using tasks, and for instance create dynamic icons that change depending on various conditions: have icons light up when there are new notifications, have the email icon link to different email clients depending on whether or not your work profile is active or not, or dynamically switch the music icon from pointing to a streaming service to pointing to a local music player depending on your network connection. All things that are perfectly possible with today’s Tasker scene system, it just isn’t available as a launcher.

This would also allow you to create completely different home screens depending on various situations, similar to what some launchers already do, but roughly 253.81 million times more powerful. You could literally create your own apps using the scene system, and use those as home screen pages, then switch them based on various conditions. What about having your own custom app for tracking working hours, that is automatically put front and center when you come to work, and then disappear by itself once you’ve filled in the data? Or what about placing every driving related app and widget you have on a custom home screen, and then activating it with a Bluetooth Connected context to your car stereo?

None of the random examples above are in any way far fetched, and most of the functionality is already in Tasker. Turning it into a launcher, however, would be a ton of work, and I don’t see the Tasker developer going down that route. Heck, I don’t even know if it’s possible to merge the scene system into a launcher like that! Aside from the work with creating the launcher format, you would also need the ability to implement other widgets and shortcuts into the system, which can’t be easy. Moreover, this would be far more advanced than Tasker itself, as it would only truly become useful once you’re at the level where you create your own scenes and whatnot- which a minority of Tasker’s users are at.

So, bottom line, I don’t see this as very likely to happen. That doesn’t mean I can’t wish for it to happen, and I do think that it would be multiple steps above epic. Once you know how to use Tasker properly, your phone is no longer an ordinary Android phone, and a Tasker Home launcher would just give the final killing blow to what’s left of stock Android on devices like that.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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