A new “PlugProfile” Android app

Ever since I got my Droid working properly, it is by far the best phone that I’ve ever had. However, one notable deficiency is the fact that it lacks a good way to change ring profiles. There are a lot of applications in the Android Market that can help with this, but none of them did exactly what I wanted, so I decided to write my own.

Several years ago, I got an LG V phone, and it had a really nice and sensible feature that made it possible for you to change how it behaved when a call came in based on whether or not it was plugged in, and I used that to configure the phone to vibrate when it was unplugged (and presumably in my pocket) but to ring at maximum volume when it was plugged in (and obviously not in my pocket).

A couple of years ago, I traded in my V phone for a Blackberry. It didn’t directly support changing the ring profile based on whether it was plugged in or not, but it did support changing the profile based on whether it was in the holster. Since I carried the phone in my pocket and didn’t use the holster, that was good enough because I could put it in the holster whenever I plugged it in to achieve the same effect.

Late last year when I upgraded from the Blackberry to the Droid, it was an upgrade in nearly every way except ring profile management. The phone itself comes with basically nothing for changing the way it rings under different conditions. There are a lot of apps in the Android Market that try to address this problem, and there are some pretty inventive solutions like using information about your location or based on the time of day. However, none of these were a very good fit for my needs. I ended up using “Quick Profiles”, which just let you create different profiles and then manually switch between them, but that wasn’t ideal because I found that I frequently forgot to change the profile when unplugging my phone and putting it in my pocket in the morning and taking it out and plugging it back in in the evening, so it was frequently configured to ring when I didn’t want it to, or vibrate when I wasn’t around to feel it.

The model exhibited by the V phone was just about perfect for me, so I decided to go ahead and write an app to do that for Android. It was a pretty quick and painless process, and the app is now available for free in the Android Market with the name “PlugProfile”. It provides the ability to automatically set the phone to silent mode, vibrate-only mode, ring-only mode, or ring-and-vibrate mode based on whether it’s on battery, on AC power, or on USB power, and if ringing is enabled, you can set the volume from anywhere between 10% and 100% of the maximum volume in 10% increments. I have my phone set to use vibrate-only mode when it’s on battery, ring with 100% volume when it’s plugged into AC power, and ring with 50% volume when it’s plugged into USB (of a presumably nearby computer). It doesn’t mess with your ringtone, so if you’ve got different rings for different people, then that should still be preserved.