Android Wear to get API for making custom watch faces

July 17, 2014
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Despite having its official release and even official devices, Android Wear might still be a bit raw, untested in the wild at the very least. So it isn't surprising to learn that not everything is set in stone yet, even when it comes to the tools that developers need. The Android Wear team has just revealed that they are working on API that will make it easy for developers to create their own custom watch faces.

Google might be a little too late to the party. Ever since the Android Wear smartwatches launched, Android Wear apps started raining down, including watch faces, just like the Star Trek and Matrix themed designs we saw earlier. That said, making said smartwatch faces isn't exactly a walk in the park. It's almost akin to making your own homescreen launcher, except you need to have more considerations to keep in mind due to the special way Android Wear functions, like its information stream, battery and mute notifications, and always-on ambient mode.

It is even harder when you consider that the current API available are marked as unofficial, unreleased, and are therefore subject to change. The Android Wear dev team, however, is already hard at work in polishing up the API for a final release. And the benefits might be well worth waiting for, as the API would bring features like support for multiple form factors (think, both square and round faces), lower battery consumption, and generally a more reliable way to make faces.

To that end, Google is exhorting developers and designers to hold off from publishing their fancy sci-fi or fantasy design on Google Play Store, the reason being that the final version of the API might be totally incompatible with the experimental ones everyone seems to be using right now. Unfortunately, they also note that some of the promises of the Watch Face API won't be fulfilled until after Android Wear has been migrated to Android L, which means sometime later this year. Of course, that won't probably stop any of the current and future watch faces from coming out, both on Google Play Store or from other sources, but hopefully their developers know what they will be in for once the final API comes out.

SOURCE: +Wayne Piekarski


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