Android

How to go hands free on your Android phone with Touchless Control

Android's Touchless Control feature lets you go hands free and control a smartphone with just your voice.

The power mobile user doesn't always have enough hands to juggle the demanding needs of the mobile office. Or maybe your sausage fingers aren't nimble enough to type efficiently on those tiny keyboards. Luckily, the Android platform has plenty to offer in the way of keeping your hands off your device. I'm going to show you how you can make the most of this powerhouse platform.

Not every Android device is created equal. Some devices are simply better at hands free. For example — this Verizon-branded Motorola Moto X is one of the best when it comes to hands free. But every Android device has something to offer. Let's take a closer look at how you can get your hands off of a Moto X.

Enable Touchless Control

The first thing you must do is set up Touchless Control. To do this open up the Settings app and then tap Touchless Control. Make sure Touchless Control is enabled and then tap Train launch phrase. You will be prompted to repeat the Okay Google Now phrase three times. You'll need to be in a quiet room and hold the phone away from your mouth. The device is pretty intelligent and will let you know if it's too close or the room is too loud.

Once you've successfully trained the launch phrase, tap Commands while locked (from the Touchless Control section).

Here you are going to want to enable all three options. There is one caveat to this — it is possible for anyone to get around your lock screen with this option enabled. Their voice will need to be somewhat close to yours — but it does open up a slight security issue.

Send email, set reminders, speak your notifications and more

Now that you've done that...what can you do? Here are a few examples:

  • Have your Moto X speak your recent notifications by saying "Okay Google Now, what's up?"
  • Send an email. "Okay Google Now, email Scruff McGruff ... hello Scruff, how ya doin'? ... yes.
  • Send a text message. "Okay google now ... text Stephanie ... mobile ... cheese ... yes.
  • Set reminders for yourself. Okay Google Now, remind me to buy cheese at Kroger.
  • Make phone calls. "okay google now, call Stephanie ... cancel.

The hands free smartphone is no longer a bit of fiction. With the Android platform you can use that device without having to use your hands — except maybe to hold it.

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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