Earlier this week, Google opened up Android Wear to allow developers to build more powerful interactive watch faces, which now allow users to launch apps directly or pull up more information. For example, Google worked with Under Armour to build a branded, interactive watch face that centers around fitness and activity tracking, powered by Under Armour’s Android app.
What Brands Can Do
As wearables, especially smartwatches, continue to gain momentum, brands that wish to stay ahead of the adoption curve would be wise to start experimenting with this nascent media platform now, and interactive watch face could potentially offer great brand presence as well as high engagement with smartwatch users.
It is also worth noting that Apple Watch currently does not support customizable interactive watch faces, but Watch OS2, set for release next month, will allow customizable “complications” on watch faces, which offer similar functionality for brands.
Header image courtesy of Google Play
Unsatisfied with voice-to-text input currently available on Android Wearables, Minuum, among a variety of attempting tech companies, has become the first company to put out a working demo of type-input system designed for the tiny screens of smartwatches. The demo made the typing look smooth and effortless, if a bit slow, and the company claims that because the “keyboard design embraces the expectation of sloppy typing”, it totally works.
However, the company seems to be overlooking the extra effort that regular consumers have to put in to get used to this linear keyboard, not to mention the frustration it would no doubt evoke for users with even slightly chubby fingers. Wearable tech like smartwatches are great for notifications and data tracking, and definitely less so for texting. You can certainly text on your watch if you want to, but at that point, why don’t you just take out your phone?
A new section specifically for apps that work with Android Wear capable smartwatches has been unveiled on Google Play. Even though the compatible smartwatches, which include the LG G and the Moto 360, haven’t even been shipped yet, Android users can now plan ahead by checking out the apps. The news came right after Google announced it will close the ecosystem for Android Wear, forbidding third parties to create custom skins or smartwatch interfaces while universalizing the smartwatch experience across the Android platform. This preemptive strike, harnessing the considerable public curiosity about what exactly these watches could do, seems to indicate Google’s confidence in launching the Android-powered smartwatches. And given the burgeoning wearable market and the general trend towards wearable tech, Google’s vote of confidence on these apps could solidify their lead on wearables devices as they continue to flourish.
Last week’s Google I/O was an immense week for developers and followers of the Google brand alike; indeed, for those immersed in the world of wearables it was an especially big week, as several different types of watches and partnerships were announced at the conference. However, one announcement flew particularly under the radar: Google will not allow for third parties to create custom skins or smartwatch interfaces on the Android Wear ecosystem. This means that, essentially, what you see is what you get as far as interfaces ad layouts go. So far, the responses to this realization have been mixed, but it means that the smartwatch experience will be universalized across the Android platform; everyone will have the same, consistent user experience from the wrist to the television.