Last week Megan O’Neill wrote about how she discovered Astrid, which is a to-do list manager available for the iPhone and Android smartphones. Like Megan, I find myself constantly on the search for just the right to-do app and honestly, so far I have not found one that I am motivated to use consistently. Any.DO is a new to-do app that launched today for Android devices and I decided to check it out.
I believe there are three main requirements for a to-do app, it must provide an easy way to enter new tasks, it must provide a robust means for processing tasks, and it must make the task information you enter accessible from other platforms or apps.
You create tasks by entering it in the field at the top of the screen. A microphone button is prominently displayed on the screen, placing emphasis on using voice to enter task information. Any.DO uses Android’s built-in speech to text and displays the translation results for you to tap and add to the task list.
Any.DO has an auto complete function that attempts to predict the task that you are entering. For example, if you type call you will see a list of options like call mom, call dad, and call dentist. If you enter a task to call someone in the phone’s contacts a call button appears next to the task that you can tap to open the Phone app with the contact’s phone number entered.
To mark a task complete you swipe over the task from left to right and a line is drawn through the task. Swipe through a completed task from right to left removes the line and makes the task uncomplete. To clear completed tasks you can simply shake the phone to display a prompt asking if you want to clean up finished tasks, which are removed from the list. To see finished tasks tap Menu, Done.
Any.DO has three sort options, by date, by folder, and by priority. Unfortunately, Any.DO does not provide any filtering options to help focus you on a specific group of tasks, and the lack of filters makes this app not very useful for the way that I work.
Any.DO synchronizes with Google Tasks, which one accesses from the Gmail web app. I discovered that the new Gmail web interface hides Tasks and you have to tap the Mail drop-down list at the top left of the screen to display a menu for Mail, Contacts, and Tasks. Unfortunately, at the time I am testing Any.DO the synchronization function is not working. Frankly, Google has not really embraced Google Tasks and I would prefer to see Any.DO sync with Toodledo instead.
Another unique feature of Any.DO is that it supports sharing tasks via email and SMS, although the current version of the app requires that the person receiving the e-mail also be using Any.DO. A future release of the product will support collaboration with people who are not using Any.DO.
In summary, Any.DO is a very visually appealing app that provides a couple of nice gestures for marking tasks complete and removing complete tasks from the task list, but its lack of filtering makes it difficult for managing large task lists and for implementing popular task management processes like Getting Things Done. If you are interested in trying it out for yourself, you will find Any.DO for free in the Android Market, and an iPhone version is in development.