The missing Location feature for both iOS and Android

I was doing a walk through post about the iPhone app, Orderly. It is a ‘task’ manager app that allows for whole lists of ToDo items have their priority change easily. I recognized the app as a way to switch quickly between work and personal task lists depending on when and where I was.

This reminded me of a OS level feature that keeps coming up when talking with my friends/coworkers. Why can’t we change the way our mobile device responds to us depending on time and location? Google recently showed that they know when it is time for me to head home with a Card that pops up in the Search area telling me the path I should take and how long it will take to travel home. That is interesting, at first creepy, but ultimately useful information.

When using a mobile device, the interaction with the device and it’s apps are different when at work versus being at home. There are apps that are used more often in one location than another, many will cross over though. So, today we are challenged to arrange apps on Launcher screens so that the most often used apps are easiest to get to. Then, lesser used are on follow up Launcher screens. Attempting to find a workable arrangement so when at work and at home, it doesn’t take a lot of work to get to the app we need to use.

Mobile OS providers recommend putting Work and Personal app icons on separate Launcher pages. Then just have that one the front most when in those areas. This works great as long as you never use an app at work and at home. Before the iPhone and Android mobile phones, we had Palm OS devices which allowed for skinning of the Launcher. Many of those skins where working with aliases of the actual app icon so you could have the same icon across multiple launcher tabs. Back then, there wasn’t much in the area of Location awareness so the switching was manual. Both of the major mobile OS platforms offer ToDo apps that know when we are moving around to shuffle tasks differently per location information. Why not let us have the same power for the Launchers through location based profiles?

When I leave the office, shuffle my social apps to the front, tasks from the cookie jar list, move the meeting note taking apps to the second screen, photo editing apps should move near the top of the list, and the Business presentation tools way back away from the front page.