More devices need Touchless Control

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| March 18, 2014

HTC's original One is getting replaced soon, at the end of March by all accounts, and while there are some changes in store for us, a lot of the key features that made the original device so popular are going to make a return. One such feature is BoomSound, and the front-facing speakers that make it worthwhile.

Earlier this month I wrote about those front-facing speakers, and why I think more devices need to boast that type of functionality. When HTC unveiled the speakers and their ingenious placement, it made everyone ask the same question, "Why hadn't this been done sooner?" It was such a common sense thing! And now, a year later, the question isn't why it hasn't been done before, but why there aren't more devices boasting the speaker layout.

There are a lot of things some phones have that others don't. It's what makes our industry so interesting. To see which company comes up with the best features, and which device (or devices) stands out. That's just the way it's always going to be. But that doesn't mean we can't hope that some of those outstanding features don't make an appearance, and a constant one at that, on other handsets.

Front-facing speakers aren't the only thing that stand out from phones released last year.

When Motorola unveiled the Moto X, they did so with gusto. That carried over to the unveiling of their Touchless Control, which gives owners the ability to talk to their phone. You can say things like "Okay, Google Now" or ask things like, "Do I need an umbrella today," and get the information you need right on your device's display. A recent update to the feature now lets you audibly prompt "What's up?" to get your phone to read the last few notifications back to you.

This functionality isn't limited to just the Moto X, though. It works on devices that carry the Droid brand, too, including the Droid Maxx. It's on other devices, sure, but right now it's an all Motorola show.

This is why my next installment of this "Other devices" series is based on Touchless Control, and why I think more devices need this functionality baked in. And I'm not talking just rumors, either. Rumors told us that LG's G2 would boast the functionality out of the gate, and most recently a rumor pointed out OnePlus's One having the same functionality. I don't want rumors -- I want to see it now, on more devices.

Google knows they have something to grasp onto with Touchless Control, and that's why we're going to start seeing it on devices like LG's G Watch and (shocker) Motorola's Moto 360. Smartwatches with Touchless Control? Pretty cool idea. Though, I can't help but wonder how that'll work with multiple devices responding to the same verbal command.

Basically, I just don't want this to be an all Android show. It's great that Google's mobile platform has this functionality that it can expand on, but we all know platforms like iOS and Windows Phone could benefit from the feature, too. Siri and Cortana would be even better if they didn't have to be activated by a button (or lifting the device to your face).

But, what do you think? Would you like to use something like Touchless Control on your device? Or is it a feature you'd never find any use for? Let me know!