One decided benefit of Android Wear devices over the competition (ahem, Apple Watch) is support for third-party watch faces. It’s not a feature unique to Google’s wearable platform — Pebble has supported custom watch faces for some time — but Google is now leveraging its extensive brand partnerships to coordinate a high-profile push for new watch faces. Today, the company announced the addition of 17 new Android Wear watch faces from an array of well-known jewelry, fashion, and character designers.
The new faces feature a mix of paid and free, square- and round-shaped designs from a menagerie of luxury groups and artists. Bang and Olfusen has made a watch face, as has Italian clothing staple Geox. You’ll find contributions from Anrealage, Moods of Norway, Cynthia Rowley, Kevin Tong, Muji, LuluFrost, GeorgeFrost, and Efva Attling, plus one (somewhat ironically) from Swedish watchmaker Triwa.
If none of those suit your taste, though, a few of the watch faces celebrate popular television, movie, and video game franchises. Hello Kitty, Moomins, Rubiks Cube, Terminator Genysis, and Gundam watch faces are among the collection. You can check out all the new faces in the gallery at the top of this post, and download your watch face of choice from the Play Store here.
The new faces, which are available starting June 22, build on Android Wear’s considerable existing library of third-party content — at Google’s last count, the Play Store was host to more than 1,500 custom watch faces. It’s a market that’s rapidly grown since Google implemented support for custom faces in an Android Wear update last December, which isn’t surprising given the pent-up demand. Before the introduction of an official Watch Face API for Android Wear, developers created unsanctioned watch faces that notched up hundreds of downloads.
The popularity of custom watch faces makes their omission in Apple’s watchOS 2.0 — the Apple Watch’s next major update — all the stranger. Until the day the folks in Cupertino inevitably add support, you can expect Google to trumpet Android Wear’s advantage loudly and frequently.