Gesture-based task manager Any.DO created a bit of a stir when it was first released a few months ago. The company that designed it had received some angel funding from Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, and it seemed much of the publicity Any.DO garnered was more about that, than the app itself.
Exclusively for Android right now (though iOS and Chrome-based versions are believed to be on their way soon), Any.DO is a lovely, streamlined to-do app that offers a fresh, simple design that might make even Apple design fans jealous. Let’s be honest here. It’s somewhat rare to find Android apps designed so cleanly and efficiently (though from what we’ve already seen with Ice Cream Sandwich, there is potential for this to improve over the coming months). Any.DO’s slick but sparse appearance is certainly refreshing.
Users are greeted with a brief tutorial when they launch the app, then it’s as simple as typing in the tasks you have upcoming, whether they be for today, tomorrow, this week or later. For those who are used to an app interfering and guiding you every step of the way, Any.DO could come as a bit of a shock. It’s the simplicity and cleanliness that make it work so effectively – after all, shouldn’t a to-do list be a straightforward, uncomplicated thing to use?
However, in the background, Any.DO actually has some clever stuff going on. For a start, when you start typing, the app tries to help you along by offering auto-complete suggestions, and it does a pretty decent job at that. Start typing “Pick...” and it suggests things like “Pick up dry cleaning” or “Pick up prescription.” Start writing the name of a contact, and it’ll bring them up so it’s easy to complete a task with them involved. And while all that auto-complete wizardry is handy, if you want to speak your upcoming tasks instead, that’s possible too. Then, just drag and drop the task to a future time if necessary.
Importantly, the app syncs with Google Tasks, so all your plans can be backed-up and accessible from anywhere. Even better, recent updates to the app have added sync capabilities with a number of other third-party apps and services like Springpad, Catch, Astrid, or Microsoft Outlook. It’s simple to create specific folders for certain kinds of tasks, organize your tasks by date, priority or folder, set reminders at specific times, and clear completed tasks with a simple shake of your smartphone or tablet, or swipe them away individually. Handy widgets in a variety of sizes are useful to add to your home screens for quick access.
For long-term planning and agendas with specific dates and times, Any.DO isn’t the ideal app to have around. If there’s an event coming up for a specific day a few weeks ahead, you’re still better off using a traditional calendar or agenda app. There’s also no way to add a repetitious task so it always appears every day. But Any.DO is great when it comes to managing day-to-day tasks that you really need to remember and offers a simple and efficient way to organize and manage them with an interface that is a breath of fresh air.
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