Android Wear gets some hands-free upgrades
The Android developers with Google announced some updates they are getting ready to roll out to devices running the Android Wear platform. The focus of the updates is on improving the hands-free operation of devices like smartwatches to help people for those times when their hands are full. The updates will also bring support for speakers in devices that have them present.
Android Wear already had some limited support for gestures, but that is being expanded with the latest update. Along with the flicking action used to scroll through cards, users will now have options available to push to expand a card, lift to open up the list of apps, or shake to return to the home screen. For users who make use of the gestures, this will mean less tapping on the screen.
Android Wear is getting expanded support for alternative platforms that can be used to send messages using voice commands. Apps like Google Hangouts, Nextplus, Telegram, Viber, WeChat and WhatsApp can all be launched using voice commands. Users will just have to issue an “OK Google…” command like “Send a WhatsApp message to Nathan: I’ll be right there.”
Finally, for owners of the Huawei Watch or the ASUS ZenWatch 2 that have speakers built-in just waiting for their purpose, Android Wear will now support those speakers. That means users can do things like make or take phone calls using their watch and just speaking into it Dick Tracy-style assuming their watch has a current Bluetooth connection to their phone. Audio and video messages can also be listened to on the watch using apps like Glide.
The developers indicate these updates will be rolling out to all Android Wear watches over the next few weeks with some devices seeing the updates starting as soon as today.
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