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The Touchless Control feature on the Moto X and Verizon's 2013 DROIDs (Ultra, Maxx, and Mini) is already one of the coolest Android manufacturer add-ons around. Today it gets just a little cooler: the Touchless Control app was updated to add a "What's up" command. This voice command will make your phone read out the unread notifications in your status bar. This should be great for hands-free updates while driving. Or bathing.

Here's an example of a single email:

The vocal response will adjust based on your notifications - for example, if you have more than one unread email, it will simply give you a number. If you have no unread notifications, it will simply say that "nothing much is going on right now." Once the Touchless Control app has read a notification, it considers it read and won't repeat it, despite the fact that it doesn't dismiss the notification in your bar.

This function doesn't activate Google Now, so it's unlikely that a "What's Up" command is coming to the Now app or launcher for more general Android devices any time soon. Oh, and one more thing: you can also activate the notification readout by saying "Read Notifications." You know, if you want to be lame.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • usamaisawake

    I really love my Moto X. Best phone I've had in a long, long time. Now I wish at&t would approve the 4.4.2 update as all the other major carriers have. There are a lot more features I wish this phone had, but as it is, I'm very pleased. I can see myself using this feature of the Touchless Control when I'm in the car, though Assist usually tells me about texts as they come in, this could be useful for email.

    • Cathy Rudy


      ☗☗☗ ☗☗☗ ☗⪉☗☗ ☗☗�☗ ☗☗☗+1 for the new feature. Looking forward to see what else they decide to add in later.

    • Kenne Phimmasonsouk

      Yeah at&t is really lagging on the 4.4.2 update.... They put the moto x on the back burner and the gs4, note 3, HTC one, lg g2 etc has gotten their 4.4.2 updates before us.... That's why I got this phone was for quick updates.

      • imlip

        If quick updates was the sole reason, you should have bought the Nexus 5.... Or any GPE phone.

  • WhyNoTouchlessControlOnNexus5

    Probably a dumb question but does it wok on nexus 5? Can someone post the apk?

    • Sam Hollis

      Doesn't work on any non-2013 Motorola device.

    • theunknown

      No, it does not work with the N5

  • Nathan Talbert

    +1 for the new feature. Looking forward to see what else they decide to add in later. I've already added many of my own but its nice to see that they are still making an already awesome phone that much better.

  • PhilNelwyn

    If one could launch the app saying "yo," that would be perfect.

    • Sebastian Kleye

      Or "Whazzzzzaaaaaaaaaap!" :)

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

      It raises the question once again:
      What is updog?

    • Scott

      I would prefer "you bitch" in the Jesse Pinkman voice :D

  • Tim

    Would this work on the Moto G?

    • dude

      No. It lacks the always listening low powered core. Also the app is not for the Moto G.

  • http://www.bloggerslounge.dk/ Kenni Odelheim

    Does anyone know how to trick the app into working on a system language not supported by the app? I have danish language on my Moto X, but touchless control only supports english and 5-6 other non-danish languages. What I hate is that the app has diabled touchless control because my system language is not supported. I speak fluently english, so I wouldn't mind speaking english to my moto x. Can I trick my Moto X and the app to work with danish system language anyway? Else Motorola should fix the app. It is really stupid that you can't use it, because your system langauge isn't supported. We are a couple of europeans that speak other than our main language.

    • Kostas

      I don't know if this will work with moto X, but if you are rooted, there is an xposed module that makes google now work with other languages as well.

  • vgergo

    Great idea! I've just added this option to my Tasker arsenal, now I can also say "What's up" to hear the list of notifications ;-)

    • axel

      How exactly are you using this? Like how does it work? Do I need another app? I currently have Open Mic+ can that be implemented to work with it too? Thank you.

      • vgergo

        Well, currently it has quite a number of prerequisites: Tasker, AutoVoice plugin, XPosed framework + Google Search API, Secure settings... and "S for Switch Voice" to be able to wake my Note 3 with my voice. Currently it just reads the notifications, but I am in the process of adding repetition control (not to announce previously announced ones again)

        • christopher3712

          You and I should become friends. And by friends, I mean you should give me all your profiles when you're done because learning tasker requires time/effort that I don't currently have. :)

          Thanks in advance, friend. lol

  • Matthew Fry

    And it pronounces Artem's name perfectly........

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    They keep making me want to trade in my Nexus 5 for a Moto X, which would be dumb. But so tempting...

    • eriksean

      except there's nothing a nexus 5 can do that the moto x can't. but there are at least three things my moto x can do that the nexus can't. And motorola is still improving its software.

      Enjoy those mind blowing specs! I'll enjoy features that are actually useful

      • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

        I was prepared to give you a reasoned response, but the further I got through your comment the more of a dick you turned out to be. It's weird, since we were mostly on the same page and I said nothing that should justify you being such an ass about my phone. So instead of listing the advantages I'm happy I have despite being really impressed with the Moto X, I'll just shake my head in confusion at your unprovoked assholishness.

        • kunit

          How is saying "trading the nexus for moto is dumb" not trying to provoke anything?

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            Because I don't have $400 to spare on a second phone when my current one is perfectly good, and arguably a wash in comparison thanks to its own advantages versus what I'd gain from the Moto X? Nothing I said was meant to insult the X. That's excessively clear from the fact that I straight-up say they keep making me want one.

          • kunit

            I was simply letting you know why he reacted that way. From the outside/first time visitor it can look that way.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            Thank you for clarifying. But that's a pretty high level of both reading between the lines and directly ignoring words I wrote. It requires actively WANTING me to have insulted the X to the point of completely coloring my words. I'm guessing he's someone who's had so many fights trying to defend his X that he just assumes everyone is against him. I'm not, and my comment makes it very, very clear that I'm highly tempted by this amazing phone.

        • Simon Belmont

          Yeah. His reply really embodied the whole: "boy, that escalated quickly" meme.

          Don't worry, man. I think Google will add Touchless Controls and reading back of texts/emails/notifications in a future update, for the Nexus 5 (I own one, too, BTW, and want these features so much). It's too Sci-Fi not to, and Google is into that Star Trek computer stuff. Cheers.



  • Simon Belmont

    Just because it's not in the Google Search / Now app right now, doesn't mean Google won't bake in their own version of this. Pretty sure we'll see reading back of notifications/texts/emails soon enough from Google Search / Now.

    This is cool, though. The Nexus 5 needs Touchless Controls.

  • vgergo