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Listen, Don't Look


So it looks like Google are throwing in the towel on Google Glass, for now at least. I don't think anyone is very surprised. Even here in nerd city I don't think I've seen a single pair whereas I have seen people sporting Android Wear watches1 and Pebble watches2. I must admit I have been tempted by a smart watch however for me they fail it three ways:

  1. Battery life in general (with the honourable exception of the Pebble, although for that you have to sacrifice the quality of the display) sucks. We're talking a day; just. That's really not practical.
  2. For an old codger like me who can't read anything without putting my glasses on a smart watch is next to useless anyway. My current everyday watch is an analogue watch from RLT and it's got white hands on a dark face and one of the advantages is that I can tell the time without putting my glasses on.
  3. I've got thin wrists considering I'm 6'4" tall and so big chunky smart watches look ridiculous on my wrist (I've tried Ben's and Debsie's).

I thought I'd found the answer in the Moto Hint. It's a cute little bluetooth earpiece. Very discrete. Acts just like a normal bluetooth headset but if you have a Moto X phone it listen all the time so you can say "OK Moto" and that starts a Google Now smart query so you can do all sorts of things.

Here's their promotional video which, although it's a bit wanky, gives you an idea of its potential. Talking and listening seems to me to be the obvious way forward.

Motorola claimed it would work with my Moto G phone too and I did think about getting one for myself for Christmas but time ran out. As it happens it turned out that their claim was half true. It would, but it wouldn't listen all the time. Instead I had to touch the Hint to tell it to start listening.

This turns out to be a good thing as listening chews up the battery and one of the two problems with the Hint is battery life. They've sort of addressed that one via the little companion case thing but it's a dreadful cludge.

The other problem with the Hint, as I discovered via an AMA thread on Reddit was that it's not very loud. The thread went like this:

I just got one too. Do you find the volume to be extremely low? I tried using the Hint to listen to a podcast on my way home on the train last night and it was unusable. I couldn't hear a thing. What's your take?

Not horrible, but defiantly wish it was a good deal louder.

i also agree that the volume is insanely low. i use the Jawbone New Era headset ALL THE TIME for covertly listening to music and was hoping the Hint would be even tinier with the same great sound. VERY DISAPPOINTING!

Given that my main use of the device would be listening to podcasts while walking Jack and that's often quite a noisy environment that wasn't going to work. So scratch the Hint.

Plantronics M25 earpiece

I was left thinking to myself what I shame it was that someone couldn't simply get, for example, my nice little Plantronics M25 earpiece (11 hours talktime, nice and loud) and get that to do the same as the Hint ...

And they have. Hint2Search Headset Google Now, yours for only £1.07 from the Google Play store does the job. You press and hold the answer button until you hear the familiar "beep" of Google Now and you're away talking to Google's answer to Siri. Result!

  1. Hi Ben.
  2. Hi Debsie and Robert - his and hers there, very cute.

Tags: Android, toys Written 18/01/15

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