Motorola’s highly anticipated round Android Wear smartwatch is attempting to move beyond its geek phase and appeal to mainstream watch buyers.
The Moto 360 features a round screen, metal case and leather band that looks more like a large high-end watch than a piece of technology.
“We think the key to getting people to buy smartwatches is to build a watch first, a smartwatch second,” Christoph Jeneba, Motorola’s head of product for Europe, Middle East and Africa, explained to the Guardian. “That’s why we’ve built a time piece, and it had to be round because 85% of normal watches are round.”
The watch was first shown off at Google’s I/O developer conference in June alongside the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, but will only be released at the end of September costing £199 in the UK, £40 more than the G Watch and £30 more than the Gear Live.
‘Have to get beyond the geek phase’
Motorola believes that its focus on premium materials – the case of the watch is all aluminium and the strap leather – sets the Moto 360 apart from the pack.
On the wrist it looks much more like a traditional watch than a smartwatch, about the size of a chunky man’s watch though much lighter and smaller than the Gear Live.
“We have to get beyond that geek phase and design a modern day time piece, a modern interpretation of a classic time piece,” Simon Collinson, Motorola’s international general manager told the Guardian. “If you want to go mass market you have to provide a credible alternative to a watch.”
The Moto 360 features a hidden heart rate monitor on the back of the watch, which can measure the wearers heart rate 30 times a day to track heart health using a bespoke Motorola app – something other heart rate sensor-equipped smartwatches do not do – while measuring activity, steps and distance covered.
It is waterproof to IP67 standards (immersion to 1m) but the rest of the specifications are very similar to the other Android Wear watches currently available. Motorola quotes a day of battery life; most others, like the G Watch, last around two days.
The round screen has virtually no bezel, meeting the aluminium casing at the edges, but does have a squared-off bottom that resembles a flat tyre, where some of the electronic components are placed to operate the screen.
Who knows whether the Moto 360 is enough to convince more than early adopters that smartwatches have a place in the world but it is the best looking smartwatch to date and looks matter more on jewellery than technology.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010