Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Other embedded emails

I mentioned before wanting to be able to email directions and have my email program automatically parse and pass those directions to my mobile GPS. No manual cutting and pasting or re-typing required. I have thought of some other types of information that I would like to have treated similarly: Podcasts, and Bible Verses.

The way I think this would work is using the concept of "intents" that is implemented by Android. Intents, as I understand them, are pre-defined activities, which different applications can register their interest in. For instance, my preferred Android speed-dial app, Quickdial, registers its intent to respond to the "initiate phone call" button. Then, when that button is pressed, Android responds by telling me all the apps that respond to that intent (Quickdial, Dialpad, Contacts), and letting me choose which one should respond at the present time.

So the email would include some marker that defines its intent. Something like: BibleVerseJohn 2:5-16. Then, my Android-based email program would parse the message, find the BibleVerse intent, and direct it to all BibleVerse intent-receivers. There are different ways those intent-receivers could react. They might immediately try to open the verse while I am reading the email. Or they might create a bookmark corresponding to the verse.

Similarly with Podcasts...the Podcast intent receiver might offer a choice of:
  • Stream now
  • Download now
  • Add to download queue

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