While the days of being able to hold Skype conversations between smart watch devices might not be here yet, that milestone seems to be getting closer now that owners of some Android smart watches can tap into several features of Skype.
Yesterday, Skype announced Skype 6.4 for Android, which offers users new ways to manage conversations on Android Wear devices including the Moto 360, Huawei Watch, LG Watch Urbane, and the ASUS ZenWatch.
What does Skype mean by "manage conversations"? It doesn’t mean carrying on Skype phone calls from smart watches, at least not for now. But it does mean users can get notified about and read new messages from friends and family directly on Android Wear devices.
Users can also reply to messages directly from Android Wear devices, either by using voice-to-text by speaking to their devices, or by picking from a set of pre-written responses -- or even drawing on their watches and responding with Skype Mojis, Skype’s own version of emojis.
Finally, the updated Skype 6.4 for Android lets users see the people who are calling on their devices. Incoming calls can be declined or accepted, and users can hold Skype conversations the old-fashioned way -- by using microphones, headphones, or wireless Bluetooth speakers or headsets. While on calls, users can also use their Android Wear watches to mute, hang up, or pause and switch to other incoming calls.
The new version of Skype for Android Wear smart watches adds to the Android family an app that was previously only available only for the Apple Watch. The new release gives Android Wear another way to compare itself favorably to the Apple Watch. And there may be a customer satisfaction void for Android Wear to fill. In a recent survey by 451 Research, 28 percent of Apple Watch owners said their new smart watches exceed expectations and 51 percent said they meet expectations.
Latest in Series of Updates
Skype 6.4 for Android is the latest in a recent series of refinements. Earlier this month, Skype (which is owned by Microsoft) revamped its Android and iOS apps, releasing new versions with simpler navigation and enhanced search and messaging. The Android version also has a floating action button that allows users to start new videos or audio calls, text chats, or video messages. On iOS devices, users can use swipe to make calls and look at messages.
Google created the Android Wear operating system last year specifically for smart watches and other wearable devices. The OS has a basic user interface, instant notifications and the ability to perform tasks including texting and using voice commands.
Users can get the Skype for Android update from the Google Play Store.