Android Wear update adds new gestures and voice-to-text

Make calls and listen to messages if your smartwatch has a speaker.
Billy Steele
B. Steele|02.04.16

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Billy Steele
February 4th, 2016
Android Wear update adds new gestures and voice-to-text

Since Android Wear's debut, Google has regularly added new features for the wearable software. Today, those gadgets are getting three more tools -- the stuff we first heard about back in November. First, Android Wear is adding new gestures for navigation through what's on your smartwatch. You can push, lift or shake your wrist to peruse cards, pull up a list of apps or return to the home screen. If you're not exactly sure how the movements work, you can get a tutorial on your Android Wear device from the Settings menu.

Android Wear already allows you to search or control music with your voice. Now, you can use those voice controls to send messages. Apps like Google Hangouts, Nextplus, Telegram, Viber, WeChat, and WhatsApp will all accept your spoken cues, so you won't have to pull out your phone to text someone. For example, saying "OK Google, Send a Hangouts message to Edgar: Does 5PM work?" will employ the voice feature to complete the task.

Lastly, if you happen to have an Android Wear device with a built-in speaker, like the Huawei Watch and ASUS ZenWatch 2, you can take calls and listen to messages on your wrist. Of course, you'll be doing so in a speakerphone-like scenario, so you'll want to be sure you have some privacy. All of these features are rolling out "over the next few weeks," which means you'll be able to take advantage soon enough.

Update: The full list of Android Wear Mashmallow upgrades is available via a post on the Android Help Forum.

  • New ways to get your information: Android Wear is launching even more wrist gestures so you can navigate your watch by just moving your arm. In addition to scrolling through your cards, you can now expand a card, bring up your apps, or return back to the watch face by just moving your arm.

  • New ways to communicate: Your Android Wear watch already saves you time by letting you see who's calling. Starting today, with speaker support for Android Wear, you can take calls and make calls too. Just make sure your watch and phone are within Bluetooth range.This will be available on Android Wear watches with speakers, starting with the Huawei Watch and ASUS ZenWatch 2 (49mm - large). Also, for those using Google Messenger for SMS, its new watch app allows you to see your full message threads right on your wrist.

  • New supported languages: Android Wear is now available in six new languages: Dutch, Polish, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Indonesian and Thai. Set up the language on your phone under settings. .

  • New apps experiences: With the new Google Now app experience on your watch, never miss important notification cards, such as reminders or flight delays. Launch the Google app from your apps list to see all of your notifications. The new Reminders app allows you to create, view, and archive reminders. Also, now send instant messages with just your voice from the following 3rd party apps like Google Hangouts, Nextplus, Telegram, Viber, WeChat, and WhatsApp

  • Settings update: With the new Date and time setting, you can now choose to sync your watch's time and date automatically or change it manually. For watches with integrated speakers, control Sound including media, alarm and ring volumes, as well as ringtone! Finally, we've made some other changes to keep in mind. Restart has been dropped in the latest update. If you do power down be sure to use your power button on to restart your watch. And if you need to reset your watch, now select Unpair with phone.

  • Conserve power - When your watch is not worn for a long period of time it will go into a mode to conserve battery by restricting what your apps are accessing and running. To exit this mode just move your watch, turn on the screen or connect it to a charger. To also help conserve battery, individual apps that have been unused will go into a standby mode until you start using the app again.

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