When Google and their partners first launched Android Wear, all the devices had one thing in common (aside from the software) in that they all supported standard watch fittings. Even if devices like the first-gen Moto 360 had awkward casings, it was still a standard 22mm watch fitting. That made it super-easy to apply whatever style or material of watch band you wanted, but then the Apple Watch came along. There's nothing special about the Apple Watch, but it's clear they've got the strap side of things right, offering hot-swappable straps that are easy to swap and change. Now, with MODE, Google is launching their own open source effort to give Android Wear users – of all watches and sizes – the same options.
Launching today, and available online from the Google Store and Amazon, as well as in Best Buy stores, the MODE for Wear initiative will allow strap makers and fashion names to create their own watch straps using the MODE name. For example, this allows an established name like Hadley Roma to make the two bands that we've been wearing in the gallery below. This approach still centers around the humble watch strap pin, and each strap you purchase comes with one, as well as a small tool and instructions on how to fit it, but once you have done you just pull back the button and unhook the strap and repeat with a new strap to fit it. The ends of say, a leather option, are rigid as oppose to just leather as they would be in a standard watch strap so this is a confident fitting and wearing both a leather and a silicon strap this week I had no issues with how secure they were.
The idea behind MODE is that users will not only be able to express themselves in different settings by changing their straps quickly, but a silicon strap can be used in the gym and a leather strap used when out to dinner, and so on. The two options we had from Hadley Roma, tested here with a Huawei Watch, would have fit those two use cases quite nicely, and this of course ties in with Google's "be together, not the same" mantra, only this time tapping into the world of fashion.
These new bands will available in silicon and leather, with no word of any metal bands being available, but even in these two new materials they won't be cheap. The silicon options will be $49.99 while the leather will be $59.99. That's perhaps more than you'd find a genuine leather strap online in a standard fitting, but these will be available from a number of brands over time, and these are super-quick to simply swap and change. Speaking of fittings, the MODE bands will be available in 16mm,18mm, 20mm and 22mm for all the different watches and sizes out there. Those looking to learn more about MODE for Wear and the current crop of options can take a look at g.co/wearmode online.