What could very well be the swan song of the short-lived Google-Motorola era is here, and it’s wearable technology done right. The Moto 360 is the newest smartwatch on the market, and it nails the most important aspect of wearable technology – it looks like something you’d actually like to wear.
There are actually two big announcements here – the watch itself, and Android Wear. The latter is a new version of Android made just for wearable technology. The Moto 360 itself has a round watch face, which looks much, much more fashionable than square smartwatches that have been coming out on the market lately. By default, the display will have a clean, professional faux-analog clock. With a flick of your wrist, you can bring up notifications, which will be the standard stuff – missed calls, texts, and social media.
At the heart of Android Wear, the operating system, is voice commands – the now familiar ‘OK Google,’ followed by your query/demand/musing. That includes Google searches (with info displayed on the watch), and the ability to give commands, like call for a taxi, ask for the score of a sports game, or sending a text using dictation. Of course, fitness apps will keep track of vitals like heart rate and steps taken, too. It’s not been confirmed, but it would be surprising if the Moto 360 didn’t come with a pedometer and heart rate monitor inside. You’ll have limited control of your smartphone, too, most notably the ability to control what music is being played. The best part is, knowing that Android Wear is coming directly from Google, you know future robust third-party support is all but assured.
The display on the Moto 360 looks very sharp. Information or messages are presented from the bottom up, over a background of your choosing. It looks a much simpler and more streamlined experience than any smartwatch has achieved thus far – the Galaxy Gear line is definitely being put on notice.
But, if you’re not keen on buying into the fruits of a partnership that no longer exists (now that Motorola has been sold off to Lenovo), hang in there – Google is working with Asus, HTC, LG, Fossil, and Samsung, along with multiple microchip manufacturers, to bring more wearable devices to market bearing Android Wear. As for the Moto 360, you can expect it to become available sometime this summer. You can sign up for email updates about the Moto 360 now, but no price has been confirmed.