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Using Speakers on Wearables

This lesson teaches you to

  1. Detect the Speaker
  2. Play Sounds

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Some Android Wear devices include speakers, enabling them to incorporate sound into their apps and offer an extra dimension of engagement with the user. A speaker-equipped Wear device might trigger a clock or timer alarm, complete with audio notification. Games on Wear become become more entertaining by offering not just sight, but sound.

This page describes how apps on Wear devices running Android 6.0 (API level 23) can use familiar Android APIs to play sounds through the device speaker.

Detect the Speaker

A Wear app must first detect whether the wearable device has a speaker. In the following example, the app uses the getDevices() method in conjunction with the value of FEATURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT to confirm that the device is equipped with a speaker.

PackageManager packageManager = context.getPackageManager();
AudioManager audioManager = (AudioManager) context.getSystemService(Context.AUDIO_SERVICE);

// Check whether the device has a speaker.
    // Check FEATURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT to guard against false positives.
    if (!packageManager.hasSystemFeature(PackageManager.FEATURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT)) {
        return false;

    AudioDeviceInfo[] devices = audioManager.getDevices(AudioManager.GET_DEVICES_OUTPUTS);
    for (AudioDeviceInfo device : devices) {
        if (device.getType() == AudioDeviceInfo.TYPE_BUILTIN_SPEAKER) {
            return true;
return false;

Play Sounds

Once you've detected the speaker, the process for playing sound on Android Wear is the same as for a handset or other device. For more information, see Media Playback.

If you also want to record audio from the microphone on the wearable, your app must also get permission to use the microphone. To learn more, see Permissions on Android Wear.