A microphone is the third and missing ingredient for a proper Tasker smartwatch

Two-way communication is very important for using a smartwatch with Tasker, and the reason why I bought a Sony Smartwatch to do just that. There is however another ingredient that I wish the Sony Smartwatch had, but it doesn’t: a microphone.

Two-way communication means that the phone has the ability to send information to the watch, and that the watch has the ability to send information to the phone. The problem however is how you actually create the information on the watch, as the extremely limited screen real-estate means that button-based widgets is more or less the only thing that makes sense. Forget keyboards, forget intricate menu navigation, it just won’t work on a screen like that. That leaves the one input method that is independent of screen size: voice control.

I’ve actually made my own voice control bracelet for Tasker before, but I left the project for dead as the lack of a commercial product coupled with it being limited to only voice control made it more cumbersome than it had to be. For this idea to truly be useful, I instead think that it has to come as an addition to a proper smartwatch, rather than as a standalone creation. A microphone in a smartwatch could potentially take the place of a keyboard on a full size device, so that any time you do something that would require advanced user input, that automatically happens via voice control.

As an example, the video below shows my latest Tasker creation, a way to add items to my shopping list via a widget on my watch. I made it for use at night, as I often get a lot of brilliant ideas when I’ve gone to bed and the phone is just out of reach. Since the Sony Smartwatch doesn’t have a mic, however, I had to settle for running the Get Voice actions using the phone’s mic, meaning that I’ll have to speak up for it to hear me across the room. The thing is that this works, which means that a mic on the watch itself is all that’s needed for it to really work.

Still, I don’t see it as very likely that we’ll see a smartwatch with a mic any time soon, as commercial software for smartwatches is still very far away from being as advanced as what you can do with one in Tasker. The possible exception is Apple’s rumored iWatch, which would make sense to integrate with Siri, though obviously that won’t help us on Android. Of course Google might also come out with a Google Now watch, but honestly, Google has done nothing that I would consider brilliant for several years, so I’m not holding my breath.

In the mean time, it might be possible to combine a smartwatch with a Bluetooth headset and get some interesting results. I haven’t looked into that myself, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t work if you manage to find the right combination of software (Tasker’s Bluetooth support is fairly poor). Who knows, a few years from now, talking to your watch might be considered perfectly normal! Until then, I’m fine with being the odd one out.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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