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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Android Wear Watch face APIs to be released.


Google hasn’t necessarily taken the world by storm with its Android Wear offerings. Some people claim to still be waiting for the Moto 360, and others have found that being an early adopter is not such a good idea. If you read Michael Fisher’s reviews on the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live, you’ll learn that even though these two products are cool, their biggest shortcomings are found within their software. Basic issues like not allowing developers to create custom watch faces is one of them, and Google has decided to end the complaints with a statement.
Wayne Piekarski, a senior developer advocate at Google has decided to explain why Android Wear devices have this limitation, and what the company’s plans are in supporting third party watch faces. At the moment there are some custom watch faces, but these are actually apps and not really what Google intends watch faces to be. The reason why is because of the way these watch faces should interact with the existing card UI. According to Piekarski, we can expect for a developer API to launch along with the release of Android L for these smartwatches. His statement reads:
“Custom watch faces are activities running inside another process. However, they have some special considerations due to interactions with the stream and always-on ambient mode–including using a shorter peek card, moving the status indicators for battery and mute, and rendering the faces differently in ambient mode. Right now, without an official API, making a really great watch face currently takes a fair bit of tweaking.
We are working to make this as simple as possible for you so that it’s easy to make good-looking faces that work well across multiple form factors, conserve battery, and display the user’s card stream nicely. Some of these changes won’t be ready until we migrate Android Wear to the Android L release later this year, but don’t fret: they’re coming!”
Android L is expected to launch across Google’s hardware offerings later this year. Hopefully this will also include some extra functionality for Android Wear devices, as many of us are still disappointed with what it can currently do.
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