The cell phone is like a really big Swiss Army knife: it bristles with utility, but that can cause a bit of lag when trying to whip out the right function at the right time. So what I am after hear is 1-click ease of invoking the right function at the right time. To this end, I think smartphones should have, at a minimum, one physical button that can be accessed by apps. I want to make that physical button easily configurable. This is how I think it should work: each app should expose named actions, giving the user the ability to select one or more default actions that will be invoked by the hard button, when that app is running.

Some use cases:

  • Starting the camera, and putting it in your chosen mode
  • Starting to record a track in MyTracks, and making sure the GPS is on
  • Invoking Navigation, to the pre-defined default destination (e.g. to home, to work)
  • Mute button
  • Starting the stopwatch (physical button should be much more precise than the touchscreen)

I know, this sounds a lot like what you can do with Tasker. The big, obvious difference is the physical button. The other difference is ease-of-use: let’s face it, very few people are going to mess with Tasker. I dabbled with it, but lost interest. This needs to be simple, obvious, painless.

Posted in Droid. 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “”

  1. wbogacz Says:

    This button exists on a Casio Commando C771, and is easily configurable to call a specific application. Application configuration is handled by the software, saving it’s state.

    • Erik Neu Says:

      Had not heard of that phone, or even that Casio was an Android OEM, but cool! Did a quick search, not much written about the multi-function button–good or bad. Perhaps due to Casio’s low profile? Thanks for pointing it out.

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