Google’s giving designers a chance to go completely digital when it comes to watch design.
This story first appeared in the December 10, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The company’s Android Wear operating system is moving into fashion with the help of Rebecca Minkoff. The digital giant will release a series of digital watch faces today in a new section of the Google Play store. Google has had its own watch faces available for users to download since the operating system’s inception in June, but this marks the first time Google will offer ones designed by third parties. (The companies making the smartwatches, such as Samsung and Motorola, have offered some digital faceplate options).
Jeff Chang, Android Wear senior product manager, told WWD that wearables are about much more than hardware.
“The next step here was to allow wearers to personalize the watches — but from a software standpoint,” Chang said. “You download them just like apps and can switch them at any time.”
The initial selection is intended to appeal to a wide audience and will include styles from Minkoff, Porsche and X-ray artist Hugh Turvey. There will also be “Despicable Me”-themed watch faces. Chang said the cost is up to the developer, and a lot of watch faces are free. He also noted that Google will launch an updated collection of watch faces containing a few dozen new styles.
“Wearers have very particular tastes, and they care very much about how the hardware looks — and then, of course, the watch face, given that it’s what you see all day even when its idle,” Chang said.
In addition to telling time —and looking good — watch faces will be able to integrate live data such as weather, calendar information or other sensors on the device.