During our CrunchUp in Rome last week – where which I was blown away by the amount of Italian startups that have emerged from almost nowhere in the last year – I came across an extremely interesting (and I don’t use that phrase lightly) startup which deserves much closer examination.
Atooma is an Android app [Google Play link] which is in itself like carrying around a mobile toolkit to create your own mini-apps – but without needing any coding skills. In fact, it operates almost like an App store inside an app store. But the closest thing it resembles is a sort of IFTTT for mobile, and some of its applications could well be insanely useful. Let me explain.
In essence, Atooma lets you set up conditional events (an “IF”) that will automatically trigger simple actions (a “DO”), based on things like time, location, your favourite apps, email (and so on). So, because it is a contextual app which is aware of your location and the time of day, it effectively makes your smartphone smarter.
Here are some examples:
- Because you can set a command to execute when your GPS tracks you exceeding a certain speed, you could have Atooma read new emails or SMSs to you while driving
- You can prevent your phone from ringing or logging onto a network when the battery is about to die
- Automatically save photos to Dropbox
- Automatically post a photo to your Facebook wall when you take it in a certain location
- Automatically send an email when you leave a location
- You get the idea…
Actions can be triggered by shaking the phone horizontally or vertically; based on the level of daylight; whether a headphone is plugged/unplugged; whether the phone is on WiFi or not. And there are many, many others, tied in to SMS< email, Facebook, Twitter, GPS and others.
The implications are quite far and wide. Leaving aside the obvious ones about snapping holiday pictures, you could even give a smartphone to an elderly relative and get it to email you if they left their house.
Crucially, users can publish their little apps in the Atooma community and others can download them. Hence the app store inside an app.
Right now Atooma is just on Android but the startup – co-founded by Francesca Romano and Gioia Pistola – plans to develop on iOS soon.
Frankly I see this being so useful that I would love to see it developed for iOS. It’s the kind of thing mobile operators would probably kill to have pre-installed in their Androids right now.