Google’s smartwatch OS, Android Wear, won’t be worth much without some hardware to run it on, and Motorola is the first to step up to the plate with the Moto 360. While it seems that everyone has some kind of wrist-mounted computer these days, Motorola is going all out and producing the best-looking smartwatch to date—it actually looks like a watch.
Alongside Google’s big reveal, Motorola officially unveiled the first smartwatch with a circular touchscreen. The Moto 360 looks almost like a regular wristwatch, except the round face is a single LCD (or AMOLED) panel. Science fiction shows have long toyed with circular screens, but since computers took off, we’ve never fully embraced a computing product with a screen that was anything but rectangular or square. Sometimes those rectangles are curved or bent, but because pixels are square, the screens that occupy our life have matched. Even the first smartwatches, from the Pebble to the Samsung Gear Fit, are square or oblong.
We don’t know how big the Moto 360’s battery will be, but we’re hoping to squeeze at least two days from it before it conks out.Thankfully, the Moto 360 uses wireless Qi charging, which not only removes the need for unsightly microUSB ports but also ensures that you don’t have to fiddle around with wires every time you juice it up.Pictures of the Moto 360’s wireless charging dock show off a rather pleasant charging screen, and we’ll be very surprised if the 360 doesn’t double up as a bedside clock when it’s docked at night.We can’t see any reason why existing Qi stands and charging pads won’t work with the 360, so if you’d prefer to lay it down flat then that shouldn’t pose a problem.
The Moto 360 will be one of the first watches to land running Android Wear – Google’s made-for-wearables OS. We’ve already reviewed it in detail, so we won’t dive into the details, but essentially it’s a wrist-friendly version of Android, pushing notifications to your smartwatch and letting you carry out tasks without having to slip your phone out of your pocket.The 360 will chat to your connected smartphone via Bluetooth LE (low energy), so you can read messages, check the weather, answer calls, control music and more straight from your wrist.It also makes use of Google Now’s search powers, thanks to built-in voice search.
It’s confirmed the watch is water resistant, but exact details won’t be shared until release.
Price and Release Date
Motorola previously published an RRP of US$250 for the 360, in the terms and conditions of a competition. While it hasn’t confirmed that this will be the final retail price, we’re keeping our fingers crossed.A direct conversion puts the Moto 360 at around £150 – which is just under the £160 price tag of the LG G Watch.While a direct conversion is unlikely, we’ll be happy if Motorola can match the G Watch’s price, especially given its superior premium build and circular screen.As for a release date, Motorola keeps repeating “late summer” – which could be anywhere from now until the end of September. We’re counting down the days one at a time, and will update this preview with any more information as and when we get it.