Android is aiming to eliminate the fear that comes from the moment you realize your Android smartphone is missing and the sinking feeling that accompanies such a realization. It's welcome news for gadget junkies who happen to also be using Android Wear.
The new Android Wear smartphone-finding feature taps the Android Device Manager, which debuted in 2013 as a security mechanism and has reportedly helped 30 million Android device owners locate lost and misplaced devices.
In a blog post creatively titled "Keep a watch on your phone," Android software engineer Andrew Flynn explained how Android has built a new feature that makes a lost phone ring at full volume.
"Today we're making Android Device Manager even more useful by introducing support for Android Wear to help you find your lost device," wrote Flynn. "Misplaced your Android phone? No problem! Android Wear connects your phone to your wrist, and together with Android Device Manager, you can make sure it stays that way."
According to Flynn, the feature will be rolling out to all Android Wear devices in the next few weeks. To activate the function, Android Wear device owners need to just tell Google the following instruction: "Ok, Google. Start. Find my phone." Device users can also select the "Find my phone" option in the Start menu. Both actions will prompt the lost smartphone to ring at full volume, which will help in situations where the lost phone is within earshot.
Early feedback from Android Wear users, however, reveals the new phone finding feature is a bit quirky. While most comments to the Android post indicate user appreciation, more than a few say that the voice command approach is a bit buggy.
"Very cool. The only thing is ... the 'start, find my phone' voice action doesn't seem to work," noted a Motor 360 user. That may be due to the fact the rollout hasn't hit the Moto 360 device family as yet, as another user responded, but the Moto 360 user then tried "start application - find my phone" and that seemed to work.
One LG G Watch R user reported the feature worked fine and was a "nice" function, although another user offered a more frustrating experience in using various verbal commands.
"It works but the execution is a little clunky," the user noted.
Others found that "start app - find my phone" and "start stopwatch" worked, with one commenting, "I think some work needs to be done about consistency of launching apps."
Another user also advised that Android Wear device owners ensure that the Android Device Manager be provisioned for device administrator in order for the find-the-phone app to work.
One user in the Netherlands shared that sometimes the second time is the charm in getting the new feature to work.
"At first it didn't work. But I found the solution: I logged in at the online Android Device Manager on my laptop and made my phone (Samsung GS3) ring from there. It located my phone and it started ringing when I commanded it to. So that part works. Then I tried it again with the app on my LG G3 R and miraculously it worked there as well. Yeah!!"