How To: Replicate the Moto X's "Active Listening" Hands-Free Assistant on Your Samsung Galaxy S3

Replicate the Moto X's "Active Listening" Hands-Free Assistant on Your Samsung Galaxy S3

On the new Moto X smartphone, the only thing you have to do to activate the virtual assistant is say "Okay, Google Now." That's it. You don't have to press a button or tap on the display at all. It's always ready for your voice commands via its "Active Listening" feature, making it a truly hands-free experience.

Of course, all Android's can run Google Now and set up reminders and calendar events, but it's not as intuitive as this.

Active Listening will automatically adjust to your current settings. If you're in a meeting (the assistant fetches such data from your calendar), your phone will automatically go into silent mode. The assistant can also detect when you're driving and will automatically read aloud and respond (initial setup required) to incoming messages.

How to Get a Better Hands-Free Assistant on Your GS3

Now, your Samsung Galaxy S3 does come with S Voice, though it does not have a feature like this exactly. But as we've seen in past softModder guides, it's pretty easy to replicate the Moto X's cool functions, whether it's flicking the camera on or installing Active Display like notifications.

Unfortunately, we can't get the exact same hands-free experience as on the Moto X, since there's a special chip installed that allows for it to conduct its awesomeness, but there is a next best thing, and it's called Utter.

Using Utter! Voice Commands on Your GS3

Utter! Voice Commands is one of the most comprehensive voice commands programs that you'll find on Google Play—and it's currently free (in beta).

I would advise listening to the voice tutorial as soon as you open Utter for the first time; there are a ton of things that you'll want to get acquainted with. For a more in-depth walkthrough of the features, check out the developer's (Ben Randall) own video below or his post on XDA.

Similar to Moto X's awesome Active Listening feature, you can have Utter available in the background. It will not monitor your current state, but it can be accessed by saying the phrase "Wake Up." Once awakened, you can then give it any number of commands from the extensive commands list.

Known Issues

The application is still in beta and does have some glitches that I noticed. Setting up calendar appointments or events sometimes does not compute, and when playing music the device seems to stutter. However, this may only be a problem with my device or set of commands, so do not take my occurrences as matter-of-fact issues.

Alternative Calendar Assistant: Google Now

For the things that you're not comfortable using Utter with, like calendar requests, you can always rely on Google Now. Yes, you will have to go to the application itself to speak any commands, but it still does a pretty good job.

Image via wonderhowto.com

Plus, Google Now can even remembered my birthday...

Although thats just them using my information to creepily send me a virtual Google cake.

Alternative Driving Assistant: DriveSafe.Ly

If you were jelly of the automatic message dictation and response on the Moto X, you can get a similar feature using DriveSafe.ly.

DriveSafe.ly reads text messages and emails aloud in real-time and automatically responds (you can toggle this on or off in the settings) without drivers touching the mobile phone.

Tapping the settings button brings up the small pop-up menu where you can manage your preferences.

You can change the amount of words to be read from a text message (25 or less for the free version) or email and alter the audio settings and much more. The free version give you $25.00 dollars worth of credits. Sending a single text message cost 50 cents, so this could run out very quickly. A premium version is also available for a $13.95 annual charge, or by subscription at $3.99 per month.

Or, you can give ReadItToMe a try instead, which even knows how to decipher textspeak and internet jargon. The pro version is much cheaper all around.

1 Comment

I'm a long time fan of Utter! and on top of that was testing its capabilities when it was nothing more than framework with no functionality other than returning results. It has grown and today even in Beta is probably the most promising voice assistant available.

Utter also incorporates a "driving mode" that reads texts and alerts you of received emails. The driving mode incorporates the wake up feature as well allowing hands free interaction such as responding to a received text..i.e. "wake up"..Utter responds with "I'm awake, what can I do for you?"...then you can say "text John Doe" and will even read back your text before sending.

Utter! also integrates seamlessly with Tasker, and allows you to take advantage of rooted phone functionalities.

In all, its functions are widespread and allows full customization of commands and other features.

MOST IMPORTANT (NEW FUNCTION)-GOOGLE NOW integration will be featured in the next release, broadening Utter's extensive capabilities even further!!!....so stay tuned.

In short, jump on the band wagon as I'm sure you will find it highly functional and as the author stated offers a great tutorial to help bring you up to speed quickly.

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