Ask a bunch of kids to draw a watch, as Motorola did, and they’ll usually end up drawing something round. Thus, the simple inspiration behind Motorola’s soon to be released Moto 360 smartwatch running Android Wear. You might think that the design is obvious, but the Moto 360 is the first full-featured smartwatch with a round display.
The Moto 360 is also important for fully embracing both sides of the “smartwatch” moniker. The top smartwatch in the field, the Pebble, was a good first try, but it’s incredibly limited and is usually more frustrating than it is useful. Neither it nor its more expensive counterpart, the Pebble Steel, is particularly fashionable, leaving it characterized as a geek’s plaything.
The Moto 360, with the support of Google’s excellent Android Wear OS, is an incredibly smart gadget. Along with the two other announced Android Wear devices, the awkwardly named LG G watch and Samsung Gear Live, the Moto 360 is set to create a new standard for the consumer smartwatch experience. Primarily used to display quick pieces of information like notifications, previous smartwatches have suffered from a lack of interoperability between the watch and the phone. For example, if you dismiss a text message notification on your Pebble, it isn’t dismissed from your phone. It’s the little things like that that make the Pebble feel less like an extension of your phone and more like an extra annoyance that lives on your wrist. Android Wear aims to change that. Because Google can control both the phone and watch OS, there is an impressive symbiosis between the two. And yes, if you dismiss a text message notification on your Moto 360, it will disappear from your phone’s lock screen as well.
But it’ll take more than just a smart OS to win over users. Where the Moto 360 really succeeds is in the watch half of the equation. The round display is absolutely gorgeous, and unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. Compared to the LG G and Galaxy Live, which both featured standard square displays with black bezels, the Moto 360 is flashy, fashionable, and a lot more fun to wear on your wrist. Whether that will be enough to win over businesspeople and fashionistas wearing $200, $500, or $5000 watches is a question that won’t be answered until the Moto 360 goes on sale later this year, especially with the rash of other fashion smartwatches in the running.
Android OS is a fantastic platform, but it’s out of the box solution means that everyone from Armani to Hugo Boss Black watches will be ‘smart’ in the coming months, and for the average user would they rather have the brand they love or a well-designed watch from a phone company? We will see.