Watch face mode

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You can use Bubble Clouds on your watch in either of two modes:
  1. Together with any watch face in “App drawer mode”  (follow link for more information)
  2. Set as the watch face

Watch face mode is where Bubble Cloud can show its full power:

Here is the up-to-date feature list (⌚ marked items only available in watch face mode):

* LiveInfo: bubble shows information instead of the app icon. Tapping the bubble still opens the app (i.e. weather app’s bubble can show weather, calendar app’s bubble shows the date etc)

Watch face mode

In this mode the app drawer is just a horizontal swipe away (just like it was in Android Wear 1.x) and the new Quick Swipe Panel shows up in the settings!

You can see the whole list of analog and digital watch face themes under “Free theme weekly” and download theme packs from the Play Store:

Active vs. inactive screen

The Bubble Cloud Watch Face works in three modes:
  • Interactive mode – when swipes and long presses are captured by Bubble Clouds
  • Inactive mode – when only taps are captured by Bubble Clouds
  • Ambient mode – when no input is handled by Bubble Clouds
We need the inactive mode, because that’s where the standard Wear OS touch features can be accessed:
  • swipe down for the quick toggles
  • swipe up for the notifications
  • long press to pick a different face
  • swipe horizontally for Google Assistant and Google Fit (these can be disabled in Expert settings, see below)
Opposite of these, the active mode lets you access the Bubble Cloud features:
  • open apps and other bubbles
  • swipe horizontally for the app drawer (and Quick Swipe Panel if enabled)
  • swipe vertically to show/hide peek card
  • long press bubbles to edit them
We can switch between interactive and inactive by tapping on the clock bubble. The watch enters ambient mode just like any other Wear OS watch face after a timeout.
By default the watch face enters interactive mode when you wake the watch. If you want to access the standard Wear OS swipe (and long press) action, you will need to tap on the clock bubble to exit interactive mode.
You can change this behaviour in two ways:
  1. Make the inactive mode the dominant by disabling the expert option “Priority for Active cloud”
    Screenshot_1543390940.png Screenshot_1543391113.png
    The watch will stay in inactive mode (swipes and long presses are handled by the OS) until you tap on the clock bubble
  2. Override the horizontal swipes even in inactive mode using one or both of two other expert options:

    Screenshot_1543391183.png Screenshot_1543391187.png
    If you enable these options swiping horizontally on the inactive watch face will enter interactive mode, hence overriding the default WearOS functions (Assistant and/or Fit)
Horizontal swipes in interactive mode:
  • By default swiping left to right on the watch face in interactive mode takes you to the app drawer (archive cloud) and optionally the brightness control
  • You can add a swipe area on the right to left swipe to access voice search (Google Assistant) and optionally the volume control. This is called Quick Swipe Panel in my app → video
You can switch left and right (move the app drawer to the right) and also you can assign any other action to the Quick Swipe Panel, as explained in the mentioned video.

A) A little background

In order to achieve the convenience of swiping sideways for the app drawer Bubble Cloud needs to add layer on top of the regular watch face. I call it the “Active mode” when this layer is shown. You can tap icons to open apps, swipe sideways for the brightness control and the app drawer, long press bubbles for various extra options. 

I call it “inactive” or “ambient” mode when this layer is hidden. In the inactive screen you can access all the regular watch face functionality: swipe down for the quick settings, swipe up to access notifications, sideways to switch watch faces.

We can toggle between active and inactive by tapping the clock bubble, and  recently I also added vertical swipe gestures too to switch between the two modes. So the first vertical swipe will toggle to inactive, then the regular Wear OS functionality kicks in. This is still not ideal, but maybe a little bit more intuitive to swipe twice instead of a tap-and-swipe.

Depending on the watch-face layout, you can even toggle the position of the hands and bubbles on the watch face. Tapping outside the ring of bubbles will bring the bubbles to the foreground (even over the peek card), Tapping again, or tapping in the center of the watch face will switch to inactive mode: (I call this the “reveal” mode)

Inline images 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1n3IGhCOG8&index=13&list=PL0wrCqIpYbB4anPdhRAtyx4ixxi6hUxMN
[Theme shown is from pack #4]

Unfortunately there is no other way to implement all this increased functionality. Hopefully understanding how it works makes it easier to use.

There are advantages to having this two-layer architecture in Bubble Clouds: 
  • we get to override the horizontal swipe to change watch face
  • we get notification peek cards (see below)
  • we get unlimited number of watch face complications which can even be put in the archive cloud and folders
  • the Bubble Cloud watch face is extremely battery friendly, our watches will last longer than with other watch faces
    (except that your watch becomes more useful, and since you will be using it for more…)
  • you can apply many different watch face styles I call “1-click themes”, and even mix different components of these themes

B) Notifications

In Android Wear 1.5 the system notified watch faces when so called peek-cards appeared and Bubble Clouds was able to reduce the size of the overlay to show the peek cards.
Peek cards are gone in standard Android Wear 2.0 and the notification pop ups appear only for a brief few seconds. If the ambient watchface is shown or while using other apps you will be able to see the pop ups, but the active bubble cloud overlay covers it.

C) Possible workarounds

There are several things that can be done:
NOTIFICATION ICONS plugin
Exciting news: I have just finished working on  this plugin for bubble clouds witch can add notification icons to your watch face (or app drawer / folder) to indicate active notifications on your phone. The number of these status icons can change dynamically as more and more notifications come in:
ambient-icons.png
When tapped these notifications are displayed and can be interacted with:
read-manage.png
You can install the notification icons plugin from the Bubble Cloud app on your phone:
Screenshot_1542920368.png
I made several videos about this new way to manage notifications from Bubble Clouds:
PEEK CARDS in Android Wear 2.9

Bubble Clouds has a card-type complication which now allows you to display long-text complications (such active notifications!) in the peek-card format that Android Wear 1.5 used to have. You can add

Inline images 1

If using Bubble Clouds as your watch face you can add the peek card using the “Add complication” menu item:

Screenshot_1524915548.png Screenshot_1525069833.png

Make sure to select “Recent notification” under the “General” group:

Screenshot_1525069837.png Screenshot_1525069839.png Screenshot_1525069854.png

D) Other possible solutions

If for some reason you don’t like the peek cards, you can still do some things:
1. Switch the “Notification preview” style to “Always show”:
Inline images 2Inline images 3
2. place an “unread count” complication on the watchface to be able to tell when new messages are available:
Inline images 1
(Screenshot shows 1 unread message with the little bell icon)  [Theme from pack #7]
Open bubble cloud settings and tap “Add complication”
Inline images 1 Inline images 2
 

Select General → Unread notification count. Then press the star to move it to the watchface (favorites)

Inline images 3 Inline images 4
It is also recommended to enable the wrist gestures in Wear OS, so you could check your notifications without touching your watch:
Version 9.37 brought full gesture support to the active watch face too, so if you use Bubble Cloud as your watch face, you will be able to show and hide even the peek card using wrist gestures.
 
wrist gestures.gif  
 
Peek cards and wrist gestures make the default WearOS notification previews unnecessary: I recommend setting your notification previews to “none”.
 
2018-09-13 09_00_47-Android Emulator - Android_Wear_Round_API_26_5554.png 2018-09-13 08_59_10-Android Emulator - Android_Wear_Round_API_26_5554.png

Author: greg

the dev