[Updated] Google confirms Android Wear Bluetooth calling feature broken

Update (August 08):

Going by user reports, Android 9 Pie appears to have fixed this issue.

Update (April 27):

Google’s latest post on the issue tracking thread addressing the matter says

The problem is with Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL device code and we are working with appropriate team to get a fix for this issue.

Update (April 07):

Google recently said the “fix should be available to all Huawei Watch 2, LG Sport devices with rebranding OTA update“. But, most of those affected have either did not receive the update, or it failed to fix the glitch for them. Considering that Google came up with more detailed information saying

    Updates:-

  • 1. AT&T didn’t push the OTA for their LG Sport Watch devices due to some technical reasons. We are following up with them and will provide updates as they are available.
  • 2. This rebranding OTA is released only for Huawei Watch 2, LG Sport Watch 2, Fossil Q Explorist and other newer devices
  • 3. This rebranding OTA is not available for LG Watch Urbane, Huawei Watch 1, Asus Zen gen 2 & 3 and other older devices. These devices has to wait for Pixel 2 & 2XL fixes as we discussed in earlier comments.
  • 4. If the issue is reproducible after upgrading to rebranding OTA, then please capture the bug reports from Android Wear & phone (after reproducing the issue). Refer comment #229 for more details on capturing the bugreports.

With majority users dissatisfied with the company pushed fix, Google is now investigating the latest reports to catch hold of the issue.

Update (April 02):

Google has fixed the issue, as per their latest post on the official issue tracking website.

Thanks for all the updates. As we already informed in comment #103, #147; this issue is already fixed in our internal builds. We are in the process of releasing the fix to public. We regret for the inconvenience caused to you with this bug and thanks for your patience.

But, the comment #103 and #147 which they have referred to in their latest statement clearly state that both Wear OS and Android Pixel Framework teams will be releasing the fixes separately. And currently only Wear OS’ fix will be available, which will sadly not offer a complete solution to the problem.

See both the comments here:

Comment #147: This fix is not yet released to public from Wear OS team. However, the Wear OS fix might not solve the issue alone. As we mentioned in comment #103, it does have dependency with Android Pixel framework code. Our Android Pixel Framework team is working on stable fix for this issue and we will provide updates when the fix is available to public.

Comment #103: This issue is fixed in internal builds of Android wear and the fix is in testing phase. As of now, we don’t have a committed release date for this fix since it does have a dependency with Android framework [Pixels code]. We will provide updates when the fix is available to public. Thank you very much for your patience.

Original story:

While the American multinational tech company Google is actively fixing the out of order functionalities on Android Wear devices, the number of issues seems endless. Here’s one of the latest problems in the list: users of Google’s wearable OS are facing troubles while receiving calls on their watches.

For over two months, smartwatch owners with Android OS on their units have been chiming about a weird issue. Basically, the Play phone voice call on watch feature, when enabled, causes an audio lag of 15-20 sec during incoming calls, preventing both caller and callee from hearing anything during this time period. The lag is regardless of whether the call is being received on phone or watch.

Note: In case you aren’t aware, the Play phone voice call on watch feature enables call notifications, allowing you to accept/reject incoming calls as well as make outgoing calls through the watch when paired with a phone over Bluetooth.

Following is a selection of user-comments explaining the problem in question:

When my watch is enabled to “Play phone voice call on watch”, almost all the time when I answer phone calls directly on my phone , I cannot hear anything and when I switch audio outputs to speaker or bluetooth (the watch) I still can’t hear anything. It seems to take 10-15 seconds of me switching audio outputs before I can start to hear anything. I like being able to still answer calls on the actual phone and not my watch when needed. I’m guessing the phone is having an issue juggling the audio outputs with the watch connected. I don’t have this issue when I have bluetooth earbuds connected as my bluetooth phone audio device. When I initiate the call on my phone I do not have the issue. It is only when I am receiving a call

When I have the option turned on. 80% of the time when I try to answer calls, I get no sound on either my watch or phone for the first 20 seconds or so. When I make calls on either device I get sound immediately. Obviously not being to hear anything for 20 seconds when I answer calls does not work. Sadly I have to disable the feature

When I have “Play phone voice call on watch” activated, there is constantly a 20-30 second delay when I answer calls on either my phone or watch where I can hear nothing in the call. If I make a call from my phone or watch, this delay does not happen. Makes the function unreliable rendering it unusable

When I pick up an incoming phone call on my Google Pixel 2, the caller’s voice cannot be heard, neither on the LG Watch Sport nor the Google Pixel 2. Also, the caller cannot hear my voice either. So, during the call, I need to select “Bluetooth” and then “Phone” again (audio source during phone call) to be able to hear the caller’s voice on my phone. I have the following setting selected on my Android Wear watch: “Connectivity -> Bluetooth -> Play phone voice call on watch”

Going by what users are reporting, the problem is not specific to any particular phone or Android device. There’s no information as to exactly when the issue creeped in, but when Google asked complainants for version details, majority of users mentioned their phone is running Android OS 8.1 and their smartwatch is running Android Wear 2.7.

The matter is being actively discussed on the company’s official issue tracking website, where a Google employee recently acknowledged the problem (at-least for the Pixel 2 phones), and also updated that the matter is being worked on both by Android & Wear teams.

This bug has a dependency with Pixel 2 & 2XL audio framework. Our Android phone & wear teams working on this issue. Thanks for your patience and will provide updates as they are available

android-wear-phone-call-bug

As the issue is not limited to Pixel phones, Google is also asking other affected Android users to share bug reports.

While it’s appeasing that Google is looking into the problem, there’s currently no information as to whether it’s an issue with the phone or watch OS. Whatever the case, we hope the company figures out the actual cause and fixes it sooner than later, as this glitch has rendered the Bluetooth calling feature on smart watches useless.

Meanwhile, we are keeping a tab on all related developments, and will surely update as and when anything news worthy shows up.

Stay connected with us on Twitter (@PiunikaWeb) to hear about all related developments as and when they occur

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Dr. Aparajita Sharma

A budding entrepreneur by profession, and a psychologist by education. As a founding member of PiunikaWeb, I am nurturing this firstborn with my sharp-eyed expertise and even journalistic writing when needed.