Wearable technology is still pretty new for most people. The idea that a watch or band could perform various functions does still, indeed, sometimes feel like it belongs in the future and not in today’s world. But no matter how you feel about it, wearable technology—mostly, smartwatches—are here; and even though the technology and the industry are still very young, big improvements continue to be made.
Today, for example, Android Wear smartwatches will receive an update (v 1.4) that allows the device to use its built in speaker so user can listen to voice mails and maybe even make calls. Of course, the depth of the update will depend on each device’s particular specs. Obviously, there is no way to know, at least, for now, if the speaker functionality will be able to work with all available apps or just those which Google has approved of so far.
Other voice features available with this update include new commands to send messages via apps like Google Hangouts, Viber, WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat, and Nextplus.
But in addition to the voice features, the Android Wear 1.4 update will also add more gesture actions to the device. Currently, a flick of the wrist will now allow you to scroll through the card stream but with the update you will be able to open the first action of the card in view with a quick downward thrust of the arm. A second thrust will select the action and open the command. Lifting your arm, on the other hand (no pun intended) acts as a “back button” and will return you to the previous screen. Finally, a shake of the wrist will exit any open app and return you to the device’s home screen.
For now, the fully suite of functions which comes with this update are only available on the Huawei Watch and the Asus ZenWatch 2, but that is only because these are the only two devices on the market right now which possess the speakers utilized in the update. Of course, Google expects that more watches will be able to utilize the full functionality of this update as they come to market.