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Motorola Assist Update Adds Voice Reply to Texts While Driving

Motorola pushed out an update to its Assist app this afternoon with one major new feature – the ability to reply to SMS messages using just your voice. Even though Assist could already read your text messages aloud and offer a quick reply while you were behind the wheel, this new addition gives you much more control.

The update also improved driving detection and will now automatically launch your favorite music app while driving (Why did I think it already did this?). 

What’s new:

– You can now reply to incoming SMS messages using just your voice
– Improved driving detection
– While driving, Motorola Assist will automatically launch your favorite music app
– Bug fixes!

As it has been, Motorola Assist is available to the new DROID family and the Moto X.

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Cheers Christopher and Robert!
  • John Collard

    Need to be very patient using Bluetooth. My LG Tone+ (730) did not work very well when trying to use voice texting when driving. After pulling off, and holding the phone, it worked well.

  • gpzbc

    Nice. Now we just need Assist to read Hangouts and let us respond with our voice. Heck, while we are at it, I would love it if this worked with Google Voice too.

  • Granpa0

    LOL, Windows Phone has had this feature forever.

    • Uppy83

      And? Lol. Pathetic.

  • De Nguyen

    All these and hundreds more were on my Incredible years ago with a little app call Tasker.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    It’s sad that the moto X doesn’t answer phone calls with voice. I have parted with my X. The battery wasn’t doing it for me, picked up a note 3. And I answer calls without touching it.

  • Stevennnnnnnnn

    Just tested this new feature while driving in the afternoon on my Droid Maxx. Fantastic feature. Just not sure I can stand the robotic tone.

  • Michael Quinlan

    It’s great to have replying be part of Assist, but it’s not like we couldn’t the same thing before the update. After the received text message has been read, just say “OK Google Now, send text (contact) message body”.

  • Jordan Oliver

    I have Moto X and Driving Detection works well in my situation, but I do feel like a simple manual toggle Driving Mode/Not-Driving Mode icon suffice for most people.

  • E

    Did anyone else lose the “driving mode” after the update? All I see now is the meeting and sleep functions.

    • trailmix

      did you check settings to see if it is turned on? mine is turned off, so it doesn’t show in the list.

      • Fernando Pena

        Mine doesn’t even showing in settings. Only Meeting and Sleeping. What is going on?

  • ohcalcutta

    I wish the Assist driving feature worked with phone in battery-saving location mode. I generally keep the phone in battery-saving mode and I’m not going to change it every time I get in and out of my car just to have this one feature. It’s extra annoying that Assist asks you if you’re driving every time too. Obviously it’s picking up that I’m driving well enough even in battery-saving mode if the notification comes up every time.

    • Riz Virani

      Now this, is a good idea.

    • Sankyou

      Google: Just leave your GPS on
      US: But our battery already sucks
      Google: Well, that’s nice. Have you considered leaving your GPS on?

      • Michael Quinlan

        My battery life has been excellent so far (5-6 seeks). I only had one day when the battery didn’t last, and that was because an app kept the phone awake all day. I didn’t get a chance to figure out which app it was, and it hasn’t happened since (going on 3 weeks).

  • dannyWHITE

    I just got the moto X with bamboo back and I’m in love with the moto assist and Active display. Haven’t had any issues thus far!

    • needa

      i really wish moto would let us send our phones back to have the bamboo back slapped on for a hundred bucks. i would sure do it. you have to think their profit margins are rather high on that back. it seems foolish to me that they do not do it.
      i dont mind saying… i am quite jealous.

    • sean carey

      I need an app that will replace Motorola Smart Actions from previous OG Droid Maxx. Have the Moto X now but love being able to change wallpaper, ringtone, volume based on time and place. Any ideas?

  • Curtis

    Just yesterday I was wishing they would hurry and release this feature. Good on you Motorola!

  • ezpotato

    While I was trying Windows phone out, the driving text feature was amazing. i couldnt even find an app that did it as well as the native WinPhone messaging did. This is a good step towards that. Too bad bing maps or Nokia Here couldnt keep me away from Android.

  • trailmix

    i wish it had multiple sleep times. i miss having a nap scheduled on Smart Actions that would silence my phone, let certain people call through and launch alarm. and while on sleep, just times is not enough. With Smart Actions, my conditions were a certain time and plugged in. Now my phone just silences itself at night and if i click i am not sleeping, then i can’t turn it back on.

    actually, i just want smart actions back.

  • adam

    Does anyone actually use this? I disabled it

    • Michael G

      I use the sleep service. Nice to have silence yet can still have certain calls go through. Other than that….no.

    • Shane Redman

      Works well for my meetings at the office.

    • needa

      i use it every time i get in the car. i dont do meetings and i sleep whenever i get tired. so no reason to use those two. but when driving… i really enjoy using assist. i rarely if every have it reply back that i am driving…. but i do enjoy listening to my texts without having to touch my phone. if it is important.. then i just ok google now a phone call. much better to use assist and not chance a wreck. texting is like drinking and driiving… you never iknow when you might kill a soccer mom and her kids. so i dont do it. the moto x makes this possible.

    • kixofmyg0t

      I do. All the time actually.

    • Suralin

      I use it all of the time. The most frustrating part is responding to text messages because it isn’t as fluid as saying “Listen” – wait for reading to finish – Say My Response.

      Instead, I have to go “Listen” – wait for reading to finish – “Okay, Google Now” – “Send message to so-so” – Say My Response.

  • ali jawad

    Overall I do like the simplicity of the Assist app over the Smart Actions one that was available on the Droid RAZR. SA was awesome in that it offered a lot of trigger types and actions, and also over time identified sample actions based on behavior. Here’s hoping Assist gets more trigger types while remaining true to its simple / minimalist design styles.

  • ZeeX1

    They should make an option to automatically turn on bluetooth while driving, this way I don’t have to turn on every time I get into my car then off to save battery

    • needa

      spend five bucks on a couple of nfc tags. tap it when you get in your car. and when you get out. i agree though… having that option would be killer.

    • Ian Case

      Bluetooth uses VERY little power if its not actively streaming info. Mine is connected to my Pebble 24/7 and my car for at least 4 hours a day and I still get well over 20 hours of battery with 3-4 hours of screen time on my Moto X.

  • TheDave1022

    Too bad I cant use moto assist in car mode because i take public transportation M-F for work and live close to a train station. Get annoyed when I have to do the “not driving” everytime, so I just disabled it. Would be nice if there was a scheduling element to it, so I could say disable M-F from 7am to 7pm as an example.

    • jimmy

      Same here. What I wish they did is that it would only kick on if it thought i was moving and i was connected to my car’s bluetooth. That way, it stays disabled in taxis, motorcycles, buses and subways. It shouldn’t be hard to implement, just a simple line of code that is the last step before asssist begins that states “is the phone connected to bluetooth? yes = assist, no=normal mode”

      • kashtrey

        Not all people have car bluetooth though. The only common denominator in all circumstances is the speed which is what it’s programmed to. It would be nice to have “advanced settings” for the power users though but it’s harder to implement that type of system in an intuitive way.

      • samari711

        That’s what this update added. I got in my car today and it switched into driving mode as soon as the bluetooth connected

    • jsprake1

      I’m sorry but how come you don’t just shut it off?

      • TheDave1022

        It is shut off….because of this. I would like to use it is the point

        • Jef Franklin

          look into tasker.

  • John Legere

    Or don’t use a phone at all while driving? Oh and dont use them in movie theaters.

    • TC Infantino

      So true, there is nothing more annoying than seeing people use their phones on buses, trains, subways, and in the passenger seats of cars. Who do they think they are? :/

  • Sankyou

    I understand it was a simplicity thing but man I wish they had made Assist a fancier version of Smart Actions instead of the latter. They could have made it Advanced Mode or something.

    • Raven

      Yes, Assist is a joke compared to Smart Actions which was way more powerful and yet still way simpler to use than something like Tasker.

  • Cesar

    “and will now automatically launch your favorite music app while driving (Why did I think it already did this?).”

    I could have also sworn it did that before the update. I thought the update just let you manually choose which music app it launches.

    • Chris M

      If they mean that as soon as you plug in the AUX cable that Google Music launches and plays the last track you were listening to…then no it did not do that before.

      • Cesar

        Well then, consider me corrected.

        • Chris M

          I’m hoping this is what they mean!

      • Matthew Rebmann

        Yes it did. I’d have my phone plugged in and ready to go and as soon as I was half a block down the street Google Music would auto-play. I think they just improved it by letting you launch your app of choice

    • Zach B.

      Ok, So I’m not crazy. Mine has always done this…

    • samari711

      It did before, but now they let you configure which music app gets launched

  • Robert Macri

    It will also learn which bluetooth is your car and then use that to switch to driving mode.

  • AB

    Does this work of you have Hangouts as your official messaging app?

    • Mickey

      It hasn’t been working with hangouts. I hope this is fixed.

      • Robert Macri

        It worked in hangouts on my Moto X running 4.4

        • Mickey

          It hasn’t read my messages ever since I switched to hangouts. I wonder why…

          • needa

            is hangouts your default? it works for me also. although only 80% of the time. if it is your default…. uninstall and reinstall both. then make hangout the default. i have seen a coupe of instances where this has needed to be done. dunno why.

          • Grayson Carr

            I reads mine just fine. Using Hangouts, stock Android messaging app disabled.

      • qwert3y

        It works fine with Hangouts for me

    • bboyairwreck

      hopefully they’ll merge over the Hangouts implementation from the Google Glass app.

    • Raven

      I am not sure, but the previous version certainly did not work properly with Handcent SMS which is my current favorite texting app. Motorola Smart Actions worked just fine with Handcent on my Droid 4 to do similar things.

  • faganm24

    They need to add location based actions… Like Smart Actions