Microsoft's Bing Mobile team introduces new app first for Android phones

Summary:A beta of a new phone-programming app known as on{X} is available only for Android phones (at least for now).

Members of the Bing Mobile team at Microsoft's Israel R&D Center have launched a new beta app and Web site for remotely programming their phones.

The unusual element here? The app is for Android phones only (at least at this point). The stated reason? Android's "less strict security model" makes it more friendly to early-stage tech previews.

on{X} -- pronounced On-Ex -- is a new kind of app that is "orthogonal to the classic 'app from a marketplace' model we're all used to," said Eran Yariv Group manager at Bing Mobile in Microsoft Israel R&D Center, via a Bing Community blog post on June 5.

on{X} allows developers and tech enthusiasts to program their phones using JavaScript programming interfaces and pre-made "recipes," or templates, so that they will respond automatically to certain triggering events.

Example: When someone steps into their office at work, his/her phone can be programmed to automatically show them that day's schedule. Or when someone leaves work, her/his phone can be programmed to automatically remind them to check a grocery list.

The app takes advantage of the many sensors built into modern smartphones. To make it easier to take advantage of built-in cameras, speakers, GPS mechanisms, accelerometers, etc., Microsoft is experimenting with the idea of making the phone easier to program with functions that won't annoy users and/or drain phone batteries.

The on{X} app, available for download from the Google Play store, isn't the first app from the Microsoft for Android phones. (OneNote Mobile, Lync 2010 and a Bing Search app are already there.) But on{x} isn't available for Windows or Windows Phones, though it sounds like it might be at some point from today's post.

Most entertaining write-up about on{X}, hands-down, goes to TechCrunch. Old Spice guy fans: Don't miss it.

Topics: Apps


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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