At today’s I/O developer conference, Google announced a new way for developers to build Wear OS watch faces, along with general updates to the Android Wear platform, including Wear OS 4.
With this update, developers now have access to a new declarative format to design and build their watch faces, using the Jetpack Watch Face library, when building watch faces for Wear OS 4 watches. Since the new format is based on this library, developers automatically benefit from any updates to it, including future performance and battery improvements.
Since the new format is really just an XML file, no executable code is now needed to build these new watch faces. Therefore, no code is embedded in the watch face APK.
Using the new library, developers can still create the same types of watch faces as before, whether that’s the standard analog and digital watch faces with or without complications or more customizable ones. The watch face editor is now also part of Wear OS, so developers who want to build these customizable watch faces no longer need to build their own editor for them.
Samsung has already integrated this new format as part of its Watch FaceStudio.
Android Wear/Wear OS didn’t have the most promising start when it first launched in 2014. For a long time it was overshadowed by Apple’s Watch OS (although that launched almost a full year later) and it felt like it had the most to offer. edge of the Android ecosystem linger. During this time, it was slowly propelled by the tenacious manufacturer ecosystem around it, and didn’t really get a chance until Samsung made the switch from its own Tizen operating system a few years ago. Now that Google’s Pixel Watch is on the market, there’s an even stronger incentive for Google to innovate in this area.