In 2019, Google introduced Tiles, a feature for Wear OS enabled watches that gives users access to app widgets. Wear OS has struggled to gain footing in the marketplace with the lack of an available API keeping developers away. Now, however, Google may be preparing to release an official Tiles API to the AndroidX support library.
An Android Open Source Project commit titled “Initial commit of Wear Tiles API” appeared on December 17th. If the commit is merged, developers that use the latest version of AndroidX will be able to make calls to the API. It is unknown if Google has plans to make this API publicly available. The API would allow third-party application developers to create their own tiles.
Tiles for Wear OS give users swipeable access to app widgets (source: Google)
When launched, users were limited to five Tiles, but an update in September of this year gave the ability to add at least 10 Tiles. This was likely in response to developers reverse engineering the internal Tiles API to create the UnofficialTileAPI. Whether this move is enough to spur interest in the OS remains to be seen but if the API is made public, at least developers wouldn’t have to rely on an unofficial API.