One of the best things about owning an Android device is that it can be customized to suit the preference of the user. Minor customizations includes changing the way the lock screen or home screen looks or even changing the notification sounds. For advanced users there’s always the option of changing the ROM of the device which will give it new features.
OmniROM, one of the popular alternative ROMs in the market, is about to introduce a new feature which allows users to set a hotword command. This will allow a smartphone running on this ROM to open defined applications simply by saying a certain hotword. The developers of this ROM say that they got their inspiration for this feature from the “OK Google” hotword phrase that is being used by the Nexus 5. What they did however is expand on Google’s feature by adding in a few tweaks for improvement.
A video of this new feature has been posted over at YouTube showing how it works. Setting up the hotword is easy. All you need to do is type the hotword that you would like to use then link it to a certain app. Once back in the home screen when the hotword is spoken the linked app will be launched. You could specify “Hey Camera” to open the camera app or “OK Chrome” to open Google Chrome. Users will be able to customize any hotword that they want.
This feature is still in development and isn’t available in any of the builds of OmniROM as of the moment. The developers working on this feature will soon be including this in future nightly builds however we aren’t sure if all devices will be supported. Our best guess is that it will be available first for the Nexus 5 before being made available to other devices.
While this is an amazing feature we still don’t know how this would affect the battery life of a device. The smartphone must constantly be monitoring for a hotword which might take a toll on battery performance. We also still don’t have any information if this feature will only work with the stock launcher of OmniROM or with other launchers downloadable from Google Play as well.
Once this customizable hotword feature lands in the OmniROM build we will be providing more information about it which should answer most of the questions we have now.