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Motorola Connect and Assist Land on Google Play, Connect Adds Hangouts SMS Support

motorola connect

Motorola continued its quest of separating major apps from its 2013 flagship devices by putting them on Google Play. This move is similar to what Google has done over the last couple of years with its services, as it makes updating them much easier. Motorola can bring new features to their best phones now by updating them through Google Play instead of having to push out an entire OTA update that would require carrier approval. 

We saw them do this with the camera app on the Moto X a few weeks back. Today, they have added Motorola Connect and Motorola Assist. With Assist, no new features are listed, plus it’s also not showing as compatible with any of our Moto X devices. I have a feeling it was put there to make it ready for Kit Kat (and none of my Moto Xs are running Kit Kat). If you have a Verizon or T-Mo variant, I’d imagine you can install this right away.

With Connect – Motorola’s Chrome extension companion for dealing with texts and calls on a PC – we’re definitely seeing the Kit Kat requirement, but that makes sense since the update brings support for SMS in Hangouts, a feature that was introduced with Android 4.4. With Hangouts now supporting SMS and MMS, users of Connect won’t miss a beat.

Are any of you big Motorola Connect users? How is the experience?

Play Links:  Connect | Assist

Cheers Albert and JWil!

  • Jeremy Gill

    Sorry, this is a little off topic. But, I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere. Does anyone know if the T-Mobile Moto X needs to be sim unlocked to work on AT&T or is it basically the same as the developer edition?

  • JB

    I’ve tried to get on board with Motorola Connect but it’s too buggy. That could be a Chrome problem, but I’ve stopped using it and gone back to MightyText. After a day or two Connect would stop showing alerts from texts. I’d click the icon to see my messages and it would freeze. Contacts pictures would appear, disappear, and reappear. It got old

  • Jeffrey Tarman

    weird. shows my Droid Maxx as supported, but it’s only available for devices running KitKat. so i wait…

  • Eric J. Peterson

    Been using Connect since the day I got my Droid MAXX. Sitting at my computer all day with Chrome open all day, I love being able to read texts and respond to them through the computer rather than having to pick up my phone.

    • Pakmann2k

      Actually, it works even when you close chrome. Pops up in its own window when I get a text.

    • SchwannyT

      Don’t forget it also pops up caller ID before you have to get your phone out of your pocket. I love it.
      I have noticed that since 4.4, when I open a text from the plugin it doesn’t clear the notification from my phone like it used to. Hangouts still do.

  • jhlinka

    I wonder if the Moto Assist app now pushes hangouts messages just like sms messages? (While driving, received text messages are read).

  • TSK

    The picture in the play store shows the app info with the KitKat settings icon but the Holo Blue is still there, maddeningly inconsistent.

  • Sam

    Play Store is showing incompatible with my VZW Moto X. Sound like it’s due to the fact that I haven’t taken the 4.4 update yet (still need root). Can someone share the .apk?

  • I actually enjoy the Moto Connect. Much of it is redundant with Google Voice and Chrome plug ins, but its a valiant effort and one that I think Moto should be applauded for.

  • mike dunham

    Motorola Connect actually works now after the OTA. I was never able to connect to my Moto X from my PC before.

  • Tom

    I received the OTA T-mobile Kit Kat update last night and also installed both apps. I am noticing a big improvement with connect but other than noticing an auto-reply sms in assist (for meetings) haven’t noticed a difference with assist. Previously to today, connect would not sync very quickly. For instance I would receive a sms and it would not show up for 10-15 min. Now it is instantaneous in the extension so I am thankfully seeing a huge improvement. Now the extension is actually usable while I’m at work!


    Welcome update because ever since switching to hangouts, desktop notifications stopped working. MySMS stopped working with kit kat also. I would use it to text from my tablet, but I have to make it my default sms app on my phone to get it to work now because kit kat requires you choose one default messaging app now. Of course I want to use hangouts not mysms on the phone. Maybe I have to go back to mighty text which doesn’t use a full messaging app on the phone, but oh how it lagged

  • I use MightyText, which supports browsers other than Chrome.

  • PooCaster

    Moto connect is pretty sweet, been using it for the last two weeks at work – a little laggy but better than any app I’ve used for this purpose yet, good job moto 🙂

  • Sean

    I use Motorola Connect and love it. It makes texting while at work a breeze, as well as notifies me who is calling without having to check my phone. I keep my phone silent at the office, so I tend to miss things. It will be nice having texts show up in Chrome again, while still having Hangouts as my default.

  • thedonxr

    Assist updated on my VZW Dev Ed w/ 4.4

  • Justtyn Hutcheson

    Both require software tweaks they put into 4.4 to enable the Play Store updates.

    Also, Assist was noted in the G+ announcement that the new version adds personalized Quick Reply messages, as well as adding Auto Reply messaging to the Meetings mode. Not really big additions, but welcome nonetheless.

    As for Connect, I mostly use Hangouts but it is really useful when I have text conversations with my family at work.

  • david ruiz

    I use Motorola assist and it’s the main reason I haven’t switched to hangouts to handle sms. It’s really convenient to be driving and be able to have my phone read me my texts from anyone I have saved as a contact. In the past, I would have needed to buy a separate bluetooth device with a companion app to get this. It really works well.

    • Pete Labozetta

      I have a Verizon Moto X running 4.4 and since I updated to KitKat, Moto Assist now works with Hangouts SMS.

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      I can confirm that the new Assist app will read Hangouts-based texts. Though, My wife is greatly enjoying sending me illicit texts that sound really creepy being read out by the machine voice, so I might turn it off for a bit lol.

      • david ruiz

        Yeah that’s what I do but agree that it would be a far better experience with the ability to reply through Moto Assist right after it has read you a message. Looking forward to the update so I can transition to hangouts. By the way, I always get a good laugh out of any “Colorful” texts I receive from friends. LOL

        • SchwannyT

          +1 to both these. I’d also like to have the ability to put it into “car mode” anytime, so I can hear announcements when I’m painting or don’t want to pick the phone up just to see who it is

  • Scott Kart

    If only they could update active notifications to fix the lag issues introduced with 4.4 on my Verizon moto x :/

    • Albert

      I’m sure they will. But yeah, thats definitely annoying.

      • Chase Chick

        I’m on VZW Moto X and I don’t notice any lag issues. What exactly are you talking about?

        • ERIFNOMI

          Unlocking from the active notification takes an extra second.

          I’m also having issues with the default email client. I thought it might have been because I switched from Dalvik to ART, but switching back hasn’t helped.

  • ceejw

    I use Moto Connect all the time. This update fixed desktop notifications and syncing when using Hangouts but it still doesn’t clear the notification from your phone after a sms has been read on your computer like it does when using the stock sms app. Hopefully they fix that in another update.

  • John Sanatar

    Assist update details

    “We’ve extended our Quick Reply feature so that you can now personalize your very own Quick Reply message.
    – We also know how you don’t like to be disturbed in meetings, so we’re similarly extending our Auto Reply feature to meeting mode. When you’re busy, your incoming calls will get an automatic personalized SMS – directly from you.
    – Some important bugs which makes Assist even more reliable and useful.”

  • panicswhenubered

    I wish SMS messages would show up in Hangouts on my desktop Chrome by default. I hate when an OEM has to make a proprietary app to add functionality to a Google service, when, worst of all, they are owned by Google.

  • Var

    Assist did download on my Verizon Moto X on KitKat, doesn’t show any kind of changelog, just “Initial Release” in the What’s new section.

  • Droidzilla

    The way Google is now handling updates is very subtle, and very powerful. By pushing all of the core functionality to Google Play, they completely bypass the carriers for approval. Take the Kit-Kat update, for instance (I have a Nexus 4 and 5). The 4.4 update on my Nexus 4 was nice, but the app updates were far more of a bump than the Android version. If this keeps up, both carriers and OEMs can virtually ignore their devices (which they often do) and yet users will still get great updates to Maps, Hangouts, GMail, Chrome, etc. Good job, Google!

  • WalkerNA

    Might be a slow roll out. Verizon Moto X w/ KitKat here but I still have the old Moto Assist and no option to “Upgrade” yet.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    “SMS” Integration is the biggest joke google has pulled. I’m essentially using one app to do 2 things (text or message) and have to switch between them manually. It doesn’t even make any sense. When can I reply to text messages on my Nexus 7?…..

    You know, actual integration with hangouts

    • Albert

      Not to far in the future. They are working on it. Plus it doesn’t help that Apple has patents on iMessage.

    • Marc

      You will only be able to respond to SMS with your N7 if you buy a cellular network capable N7. Just saying.

      • scastro87

        Or Verizon messages.

    • Lunkman

      I have the same frustration, needs to work on my Nexus 7 to be worthwhile. Why does the Verizon Messaging App do this (allows to text from Nexus 7) but Hangouts doesn’t? That’s where the Apple/iMessage thought confuses me- they can’t be THAT exclusive if Verizon can do it.

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        Verizon is the owner of the SMS system, so they can do things differently that get around the iMessage patents. Google doesn’t have that luxury, unfortunately. Dancing around patents sucks, but I have faith they’ll find a better form of integration though it may take a while.

        • Adrynalyne

          iMessage uses data, not SMS. Thats how they get around the limitation of SMS between devices.

          • Marc

            iMessage uses data only for instant messages and the cellular network for SMS.

          • Adrynalyne

            You sure? Because Ive seen SMS between two iPhones and in both cases, you could see the indicator with them typing.

            That is not possible with SMS. Its entirely possible I am confused on how it works.

          • Marc

            That looks more like IM. Technically typing indicators would require your phone to send “service SMS” to tell the other phone you are typing and when you stopped typing. It it technically possible, but was not feasable a few years ago when you were charged for exery text you send.

          • Adrynalyne

            They must make it that transparent. Either way, it is one hell of a system.

          • Joshua Peck

            iMessage uses data for actual iMessages (basically an IM) but
            sends an SMS to non apple devices and when an apple device does not have a good enough data connection to accept the IM, it will try the iMessage first and if its not going through will automatically convert it to an SMS and send it that
            way. Apple apparently has a patent for how it works. The iMessage (IM) is a blue bubble and an SMS is green.
            I am not sure why people are bitching about not being able to respond to texts via hangouts on their N7. My wife can’t receive and therefore can’t respond to texts (SMS) on her iPad, She only receives iMessages (IM) from other apple devices.

          • Adrynalyne


            Thank you for this explanation, I for one appreciate it.

      • Tim Swann

        I wish Verizon Messags app wouldn’t disable notifications for the stock messaging app. I hate the interface of the VZ Msgs app. I love the service though and use it every day when I’m at work

      • The apps Mighty Text, and Zipwhip already does this… I think they might do it in the future, but it would be sad for those companies…

        • michael arazan

          Thx for that, I had forgotten the Mightytext app name, been meaning to install it on my tablet but wasn’t sure which app it was with so many imitations.

    • EdubE24

      Plus with Hangouts as my main messaging app i was missing all kinds of text coming in. And ones that I would send would be a giant black empty box sometimes. Very frustrating!!

    • Ryan

      Thats Why I like my G Pad tablet. it syncs calls and texts and lets me respond on my tablet.

    • LucasMonroe

      Agreed. I just use the stock app on my G2 because I like the pop-up reply feature.

    • d-rock

      I use mighty SMS to text from my tablet…works great…no it’s not ideal and no Google does NOT have this right with hangouts.

      Consider though that Apple may have the market cornered on iCHAT if it’s patented.

      • d-rock

        Of course blackberry did this first I think? So idunno.

    • djdsf

      run your # through google voice. It’s what I do and I can txt and reply from hangouts on my Nex 7

    • Respen

      I get that the integration isn’t ideal, and I agree that an iMessage system would be much better, but I don’t really get the complaint about having to switch all the time. There’s some people that I use hangouts with, and there’s some I use SMS. I set it the first time and that’s it, since the SMS update I’ve never had to switch back and forth for anything. I’m 100% on board with the N7 comment though.

    • MikeSaver

      your a poop