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Wearable Tech

Send custom text replies from your Pebble smartwatch

A recent update for Android users has made it possible to reply to messages directly from your wrist.

Pebble Steel with text templates loaded. Jason Cipriani/CNET

Pebble recently pushed an update for its Android users that brings full Android Wear compatibility to the smartwatch. While the wording may leave you with the impression of being able to run an Android Wear app on your wrist, it really boils down to being able to take action on notifications from your Pebble watch. Meaning if you receive an alert from Hangouts, you can opt to open it on your phone, hide it or reply to it.

Hangouts provides canned responses in the form of text and emoji for messages, but Pebble takes it a step further by allowing you to add five custom responses. The process is completed in a matter of minutes, requiring only creativity on your part.

Before you get started, launch the Play store on your Android device and make sure the Pebble app is up-to-date. Next, make sure your watch is running Pebble OS 2.9. You can do this in the Pebble app by sliding out the drawer, then selecting Support, followed by Check For Updates. Let the app do its thing if an update is found.

With the technical steps out of the way, let's set some custom replies.

The process to set custom message replies on Pebble for Android. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
  • Launch the Pebble app, slide out the menu drawer.
  • Tap on Notifications.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and select Notification responses.
Custom replies in the Pebble app. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Here's where the creativity I mentioned earlier comes in. Enter your preferred replies, keeping in mind the canned replies already available for whichever app you're using for messages. For example, Hangouts already has the staples of OK, No, Thank You and Love you, to name a few.

Back out of the screen when you're done and wait for a message to come in.

When it does, press the middle button on your watch and then select Reply via SMS (that's the wording for Hangouts). You can then select from the emoji listed, using the top and bottom buttons of the watch to scroll or you can select Use templates to view your custom replies.

Once you select and reply, the watch will display a confirmation message and vibrate letting you know it went through (or failed).

Even without the ability to send custom replies on the fly using voice dictation, Pebble's approach to working with Android Wear notifications is well-done. Combine the added functionality with the longer-than-a-single-day battery life, and Pebble's offering may just be the best Android Wear watch on the market.