Google announces Android Wear watch face, companion app, and firmware enhancements

Android Wear owners will soon see major improvements to the entire smartwatch experience through better watch face support, improved watch navigation, and UI efficiency improvements.

(Image: Google)

My review of the Sony SmartWatch 3 just went live this morning, with a contributor's rating of 9 out of 10. With the new Android Wear update it looks like I could bump that rating up to 9.5.

There will be updates for your Android smartphone and Android Wear device, including:

  • A new section of the Google Play Store: This new section contains downloadable watch faces. Like I mentioned in my SmartWatch 3 review, the ones preloaded on the device are a bit generic so watch face options are needed for an improved Android Wear experience. There will be a significant number of new watch faces available when the update hits.
  • New watch face API for developers: We can expect even more third party watch faces in the near future. Given that developers already have created many watch faces to work through Facer I imagine they will get them into the Play Store soon.
  • New Android Wear companion app: Motorola has the Connect app that lets you customize watch faces and it looks like this new companion app will work similar to that.
  • Easier navigation: You can finally bring back a card if you accidentally dismiss it. Recently used actions are also more easily accessible. Tapping and swiping to get to Start... and then apps has been very inefficient.
  • New modes: You will be able to find easier access to settings, switch to theater mode to keep your screen dark, and switch to sunlight mode for max brightness.
  • Application improvements: Notifications can be blocked directly from your watch and you will soon be able to view a specific apps battery usage and storage.

All of these are welcome additions to Android Wear and specifically address the primary pain points I have with the platform. My Sony SmartWatch 3 has just gotten even better and when we see further support for stand-alone GPS, NFC, and WiFi it will be nearly perfect for me.

With this updates, I would also have no hesitation in buying Android Wear devices as holiday gifts for your favorite Android smartphone fan.