Here’s another Android Wear app that Google ought to use as feature fodder: It’s called WearResponses, and it lets you send custom canned SMS responses from your smartwatch.
With the free Android app installed, WearResponses will show a notification on your watch when a text message comes in. You can then use the “reply” function to choose from three custom responses along with the ones that Google includes by default. A $3 upgrade lets you craft unlimited responses and adds a few extra features, including the ability to send new canned messages (and not just replies) straight from the watch.
As Android Police points out, a previous version of WearResponses required a rooted phone to work, but that’s no longer the case. Version 2.0 of WearResponses should work with any Android phone, and it adds support for all SMS applications (such as Hangouts, Messaging and third-party options).
Why this matters: Although Android Wear includes a handful of canned responses by default, there’s no way to customize them, and most of the included messages are terse responses such as “OK” and “Thanks.” WearResponses adds just enough flexibility so you don’t have to struggle with speech-to-text in a crowded room.
When you first launch the WearResponses phone app, it offers to scan your text message history for the phrases you use most frequently. You can then add them as canned responses with just a tap before going on to create your own. Once you have a list of responses, you can delete them with a swipe, edit them with a tap or clear them all through the top-right menu option.
Things get a little trickier on the watch itself. WearResponses creates its own, separate notification on your smartwatch, thereby duplicating any notifications you already get from your default SMS app. To stop this, you’ll have to block your main SMS app’s notifications from appearing on Android Wear.
When a text comes in, you can respond by swiping over to the “reply” button, then swiping down to choose a canned response from the list. By default, you’ll still see Google’s basic canned responses first, followed by your custom ones, but you can go into the phone app’s settings to hide Google’s responses or arrange everything alphabetically. (Unfortunately, there’s no way to have your custom responses appear first.)
WearResponses isn’t the only option for extending Android Wear’s SMS functionality. Another app called Coffee adds even more flexibility through branching conversation trees. Both approaches have their merits; WearResponses is simpler and more straightforward, while Coffee increases the odds that you’ll never have to fall back on speech-to-text. Either way, more powerful text responses should definitely be on Google’s to-do list for future versions of Android Wear.