Earlier this week, Google unveiled a new strap system for Android Wear watches which should make it nice and easy to swap and change watch bands whenever users want. This is of course something that the Apple Watch has been offering users since it launched, and given that a watch is designed to be worn every single day and for different events and occasions, it's no surprise that people often have multiple different straps for their different watches. Google have been smart enough to launch most of their Android Wear devices with standard watch fittings, allowing users to use whatever materials or designs they wish – just as you can with standard watches – but it's not all that quick changing from strap-to-strap. Google clearly think that their new MODE for Wear initiative is going to help Android Wear, but can it help drive sales of smartwatches?
As we covered at the beginning of the week, the MODE for Wear system is completely open source, which means that other manufacturers and brands will be able to start offering their own straps. This means that there's nothing stopping Fossil offering up MODE bands for their own Android Wear watches as well as all the other devices out there with a 22mm (or smaller) fitting. The MODE system is designed to be nice and simple and for the most part it is, but you still need to use a watchmaker's tool to remove the pin and then snap the MODE strap of choice on. This is a small price to pay for being able to snap on whatever new strap you like, but for some it'll be a little too much hassle, especially given the straps' prices. At $49.99 or so for a silicon band, these aren't cheap, and for a leather option at $59.99 or so, things only get steeper. These are expensive prices to pay for watch straps that, despite some interesting designs in the clasps and such, don't really offer anything you can't find from a good leather or silicon strap from eBay or Amazon, or your local jeweller who will fit for you, too.
Clearly, these watch straps have only just launched and will need some time to get off the ground, but with very little to offer and a steep price tag, are these really going to help Google and their partners sell more watches? Or will it be another accessory of Google's that just sails past people? Let us know what you think of MODE by voting in our simple poll and join the discussion over at Google+ here.