LG-Watch-Urbane-AH-4

Android Wear Watch Faces to Get Smarter, More Useful

July 13, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

Android Wear smartwatches have been available for a year or so now, and while we were all expecting some sort of big reveal for what’s next during Google I/O 2015, we didn’t get that. Instead, we got an overall health check of the platform as well an overview of the Android 5.1.1 update that has now hit all current Android Wear devices. Now, just because Google didn’t have anything to show off during I/O this year, doesn’t mean that they’re sitting back when it comes to Android Wear. The aforementioned 5.1.1 update was much bigger than its version number lets on, and if documents obtained by Phandroid are anything to go by, Google are working on a few more tricks of their own.

Since the introduction of the Watch Face API with the Android 5.0.2 update, Android Wear has been treated to an explosion of good-looking watch faces, and some with specialized functions to show more than just the weather and your step count. In the leaked documents, it seems like Google is working on a way to add more functionality to watch faces. The picture below details a single-tap to change the look of a watch face, providing more info, like for instance going from the time in London to the time in New York. Another example is tapping on a specific spot to open up an app right from the watch face, and then swiping it away as normal. The Apple Watch features “complications” which extend the functionality of the watch face, and it wouldn’t surprise us if Google was working on a way to give developers similar tools to achieve this on Android Wear.

Elsewhere, it’s said that more communication options are coming to Android Wear, like the ability for watches to display content more than just emojis to stickers as well as doodles. It all adds up and it looks like Google is gearing up for some new additions to the platform. While no release date for these new features is known, it would make sense for these and other features to launch with new hardware this holiday season. With the new Pebble Time, the Apple Watch and other smartwatches hitting the market in 2015, this holiday season could be Google’s best chance to gain some ground.