How long have we been waiting for Android Wear watches to start sounding off? Models like last year’s Huawei Watch were clearly packing integrated speakers, and it looked like it was just a matter of time before we’d see the software fall into place that would finally take advantage of them. But despite some indications that such updates were on the way, official speaker support has so far been elusive. Well, today’s the day we’ve been looking forward to, as Google announces new hands-free features for Android Wear, including speaker support.
Right now, the only two Android Wear models that feature speakers are the aforementioned Huawei Watch and the larger sized ASUS ZenWatch 2. In addition to using the speaker to make calls through a connected smartphone, users will be able to interact with video messaging apps, and whatever future speaker-aware software devs manage to cook up.
We also get some new controls for Android Wear models (and not just those with speakers), with support for one-handed gestures; by moving your arm up, away from you, or just shaking it, you can navigate through the Wear UI, browsing cards and pulling up apps.
Google’s also expanding Android Wear voice support, bringing voice commands to third-party apps. Initial support will work with software like Google Hangouts, Nextplus, Telegram, Viber, WeChat, and WhatsApp, giving users the ability to dictate messages with a simple “OK Google” command.
Look for these new features to start hitting Android Wear models over the next few weeks, as Google begins rolling out updates.