States: active, inactive, ambient

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Active vs. inactive vs. ambient screen

The Bubble Cloud watch face works in three modes:

  • Active mode – when swipes and long presses are captured by Bubble Clouds
  • Inactive mode – when only taps are captured by Bubble Clouds, long press and swipes are handled by Wear OS
  • Ambient mode – “Always on” mode, when no input is handled, except to wake the watch
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 (or system app drawer on Galaxy Watch 4)
  • long press to pick a different face
  • swipe horizontally for Tiles, the Google Assistant or Samsung notifications
Opposite of these, the active mode lets you access the Bubble Cloud features:
We can switch between active 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 active 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 active mode.
You can change this behavior with the following settings:
  1. On the watch:
    • Option “Touch control priority”  has now been promoted to the main settings screen.
    • New option “Inactive watch face” only appears in the main settings screen if it is set to “Low power mode” (default of existing users). Otherwise this option is in the Expert section (under “More options”).
  2. On the phone: “Primary touch control” section added where you can choose whether Bubble Cloud or Wear OS gestures should be the primary controls.“Inactive”, because Bubble Cloud is inactive when Wear OS handles the touches.You can also choose how the watch face should look in this inactive mode. If you choose to make it look like the active mode, little indicator arrows will show up in the non-primary mode:

The following video explains this in detail

For more information please see the post

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 video:

A) A little background

In order to achieve the convenience of swiping sideways for the app drawer Bubble Cloud needs to add a 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)


[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
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Author: greg

the dev