Smartphones

Review: Locale Android app silences your phone at the right times

With the Locale app, Android power users can prevent their phone from ringing at specific times, such as during an important meeting. Jack Wallen offers this review of Locale.

When you're in an important meeting, your phone ringing, or text chiming, or any alert going off could cause for serious embarrassment or worse, such as loss of income. If you have an Android phone, the Locale application can serve as a one-stop solution for potential problems where location is key to what can and cannot happen on your phone.

How Locale works

Image credit: LocaleLocale offers a simple premise: You create situations based on specific conditions, and then your phone will react (or not, as the case may be) based on your configurations.

Locale can do a variety of things, including:

  • Turn off the ringer.
  • Turn off power hungry apps.
  • Allow specific callers to ring through even if your ringer is off.
  • Set location-based reminders.

There are also plug-ins that allow Locale to expand to meet even more of your needs.

(Screenshot image credit: two forty two a.m.)

Who is Locale's target market?

Locale is a useful tool for business power users, as well as every day users. For instance, consider the possibility of forgetting to turn off your ringer in a theatre or a movie, or your child getting their phone taken away because it went off in school (this happened to my kid).

Standout features

In addition to the features I've already described, Locale offers these outstanding features:

  • GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Accelerometer aware.
  • Can launch Android scripts.
  • Easy setup.
  • Create as many situations as you need.

What problems does it solve?

Locale solves the issue of needing your Android phone to behave in specific ways based on certain criteria. The user sets the criteria and then sets the behavior, and Locale ensures this happens.

What's wrong?

Locale's biggest issue is the GPS connection. Anyone who relies on a GPS-aware application knows that satellites cannot get a fix on your phone at all times in all locations. Because of this reality, Locale can have issues reacting to locations if your phone position cannot be detected due to interference from buildings, weather, etc.

The other problem with Locale is how much it costs. At $10.99, Locale is far from the cheapest app in the Android Market. Most users are okay with paying under $5.00 for such applications, but this price range puts Locale out of reach for the average smartphone user.

Bottom line for business

If you're an Android power user and you want your phone to react to various situations (to keep you from the ever-present threat of embarrassment), then you should try this application. Locale should work like a charm if your Android phone never has problem with its GPS. However, if you do have problems with your phone's GPS or the app doesn't work as well as you would like, you'll probably feel frustrated that you paid so much for it.

For the most part, Locale does what it claims and that will save your skin more often than not.

User rating

If you have tried Locale, please answer these poll questions.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

8 comments
g.braakman
g.braakman

As far as I remember there is an easier way. Just put your phone down with the screen side on the table. It will not ring and hold all calls. Works for most android based phones.

Smokedawg
Smokedawg

This app is to expensive and crashes to often. I found "GPS Phone Silencer" awhile back for under two bucks and have been using it without any problems....

ryanjiupui
ryanjiupui

There is another app I have been using, GPS Phone Silencer, that is only $1.99 and works great. Even has a scheduling feature that allows you to silence your phone depending on the time of day... I would highly recommend it. And it doesn't have the bonus feature of "crashing my phone" as shanse3 has ;-)

pgit
pgit

"out of reach?" You can say an eleven dollar price range 'puts people off who are used to paying less than five...,' or something similar, but it certainly isn't "out of reach." If you can't afford $11 you probably can't afford an android based phone, either.

aholgate
aholgate

The best Android application to control how your phone will work in different situations is no doubt "Setting profiles Full". The app allows creation of profiles and you assign actions for each profile to include turning on the Location and GPS services to automatic switch you to other profiles you have created. The profiles you create are as simple or complex as you want. I use the full version but there is a light version as well.

shanse3
shanse3

I love the concept of locale, but it crashed my Droid frequently...probably once a day. When I uninstalled locale, my phone stopped crashing. I used locale at the beginning of this year, so they may have improved it drastically since then. Also, keep in mind locale does a lot more than alter ring volume. I set it up so when I was at home, wi-fi would turn on, but when I left home it would turn off. Also, I set it to automatically turn on GPS and bluetooth at 5 pm for my drive home. Again, it's a fantastic concept, and I'm willing to give it another shot, but the experience I've had with locale hasn't been all that positive.

jred
jred

I think there's an app for it, though. Now I'm going to look :) That, and a decent app that automagically turns on speakerphone when you set it down with the screen up during a call.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

is just to do it myself. This is free and takes in to consideration those times when I may not want the phone silent when in a 'silent defined' location.

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