Google I/O 2014 has come and gone, but that doesn't mean great stuff from the conference isn't still coming out. The companion app used by thousands of attendees -and hundreds of thousands of fans and followers- has been open sourced! Code for the I/O app is meant to serve as an example of best practices for Android developers, providing fully functioning implementations of the latest design principles, UI controls, networking code, and more.
Android Wear has a lot of fine points, but there are a few things missing from the first round of devices. One of the more annoying shortcomings is the lack of a light sensor on the G Watch or the Gear Live. The Moto 360, however, will have a light sensor built in, according to Motorola's Cathay Bi.
If you've been dying to start poking around the Android Wear source code, now is the time! Google just posted 4.4W to AOSP. The active development branches are distributed throughout each project repository as kitkat-wear. This is the location where further patches and minor updates will appear. There is are also tags for android-4.4w_r1 (build KTU84Q), which represent the first official release of the platform.
There aren't any repositories for either Dory (LG G Watch) or Sprat (Samsung Gear Live), but we can't be certain if they will appear in AOSP or if the distribution of device specific source code will be left up to the manufacturers.
Android Wear has only been out for a few weeks, but already developers are trying their hands at designing apps for Google's wearable platform. Since this is a new usage paradigm for Android, it's hard to know what sort of user experiences will catch on and which will fall flat. This is the first installment of what will hopefully become a regular part of our roundups – all the best apps and watch faces for Android Wear.
Music Boss was one of the apps Pebble users have found rather indispensible, and now there's a version for Android Wear. This is essentially an alternative way to control all your media apps (not just music) with swipe gestures and a prettier info screen. It's still not an ideal solution, but maybe you'll overlook its foibles.
One of the first applications I installed on my LG G Watch is Wear Mini Launcher. I know it is not the Google-approved way of launching apps on Android Wear, but I don't see myself talking to my watch in public or scrolling through a long list of commands to get to the Start menu. This third-party app offers a quick way to launch Wear apps and is being updated regularly to add more features.
If you've got one of those shiny new Android Wear watches to fiddle around with, you've probably noticed the sad state of custom watch faces. There are a few already in the Play Store, but they often don't work right. Google has finally provided an update for developers on what they should do about custom watch faces. Basically – don't make them yet.
All the custom watch faces we have right now are basically hacks that are using workarounds to show you the time.