Reviews - January 31, 2024

Wear OS could be coming soon. Supporting materials

summary

  • Google’s unified design language, Material You, will soon expand to Wear OS, allowing you to add dynamic themes along with customizable color options.
  • Dynamic themes in Wear OS apply the same colors as the watch face, but also allow manual color theme selection.
  • The upcoming March 2024 Pixel Feature Drop could potentially bring dynamic themes to the Pixel Watch, but other brands may take longer to support Material You.

Material You, Google’s unified design language, is used across all products and services, including Gmail, Android, and Drive. Over the past few years, the company has been offering user-created material using dynamic themes that add a lot of color to almost all of its services. However, signs have been circulating since May 2023 that Google is looking to bring Material You to its smartwatch platform, although Wear OS was the only exception. Now it looks like dynamic themes for Wear OS are almost ready for release.

The folks at 9to5Google took apart the latest “Wear OS” app and discovered a notification indicating a dynamic theme launch is imminent.

New theme options added!

Your system theme will now automatically match your watch screen color!

Try changing your watch face or choosing a color theme in Settings.

The notifications make it clear that Wear OS’s dynamic themes work just like they do on your phone. The system uses the same colors as the watch face, but you also have the option to manually select a color theme. The OS gets colors only from watch faces that support the Wear Watchface API and were created using the watch face format.

Once released, you’ll find the Material You theme option in Settings > Watch faces & styles in Wear OS 4.

Once released, the Material You theme option in Wear OS 4 will be located under Settings > Watch face & style.

The report also details the different system UI color options you can choose from.

  • almond
  • pomelo
  • Champagne
  • limoncello
  • Lime
  • ship
  • Mint
  • jade
  • spearmint
  • sky
  • Sapphire
  • flamingo
  • melon
  • dandelion
  • aqua
  • lilac

The notification text suggests that Google is likely to launch dynamic themes for Pixel Watch through the upcoming Pixel Feature Drop in March 2024.

There have been rumors that Wear OS could automatically pull colors from your phone’s wallpaper for dynamic themes. However, there is no indication that Google will offer such deep Material You integration between the two OS platforms.

Also, remember that even if Google releases Material You with dynamic themes for Wear OS, the best Android smartwatches won’t support it out of the box. Companies like Samsung and Mobvoi run skins based on Wear OS, so it may take some time to add support for Material You. Pixel Watch and Watch 2 will be the first wearable devices to feature theme options.

Additionally, the folks at 9to5Google discovered new code that suggests the Wear OS launcher may have a grid view app drawer. For years, OSes have had a simple list view that displays icons for all installed apps.

It would be nice to have an alternate view where you can see multiple app icons at the same time. The string refers to the grid view as “3_column_grid_launcher”. This feature appears to be in the early stages of development and may take some time to be released.