Android Wear gets way better with official custom watch face support

Android Wear is getting a new dose of functionality with an update rolling out beginning today. The update, which will come to all Android Wear-powered devices over the next week, will bring official Watch Face API support — and a bevy of delightful new Google-endorsed designs — along with a host of other performance improvements.

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The new Watch Face API is available to developers today, along with swaths of documentation that will help them achieve the most attractive results. Because thousands of unofficial watch faces are already available on the Play Store, Google is encouraging developers to migrate their existing ones over to the new Android Wear SDK, which is based on Android 5.0. In fact, Google will be removing any non-compliant Android Wear watch faces apps by January 31st.

Watch faces are distributed the same way as apps: through Google Play. They can be free or paid, and app “packages” can contain multiple watch faces, either for free or as in-app purchases.

Google has already included a collection of official designs on its Google Play portal from brands and companies like Namco, Plants vs. Zombies, Rebecca Minkoff, Behance, 500px and Muzei. The latter two are interesting because they will allow photographers and developers to create automatic watch face cycling.

The Android Wear companion app for Android 4.3 and above will also be receiving a large update with a more Android 5.0-friendly Material redesign.

Do you have an Android Wear smart watch? If so, which one, and why did you choose it?