Google unveiled a special version of Android meant for watches and wearable devices on March 18. We were shocked and pretty excited at the news, which you can learn all about in our Android Wear OS Guide. More shocking than the OS might be the new shape smartwatches with the software installed can come in.
Updated on 08-14-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Motorola sent out invites to the press for a September 4 event in Chicago where the Moto 360 is expected to launch alongside other products.
Launch event set for September 4
After months of suspense, Motorola finally announced a launch date for the Moto 360. The company issued invitations to the press for a September 4 event in Chicago. The invite shows a colorful piece of origami, which entreats you to “choose to discover” and “choose to have fun,” before unfolding to reveal images of several products, and finally, the invite itself. Based on the images shown in the invite, Motorola may also introduce the X+1 and a new G smartphone, as well as some kind of headphones, in addition to the long-awaited Moto 360.
A round face and unique design
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.
Motorola has stayed tight-lipped about the Moto 360’s specification, but a little more about it was revealed during a live Google Hangouts call on March 19. Let’s recap everything we’ve learned about this exciting smartwatch.
Here’s what we know about Moto 360:
- The round face gives it the “wow” factor: The circular design is about comfort and familiarity, and matching the tech to what consumers want. Square concepts were made over the two or three years of development, but only the round face had the “wow” factor. It’s also very functional, as the round design gives the most amount of surface area on your wrist. In early August, Luca Viscardi from Mister Gadget posted several photos of the Moto 360 online. Many of them show the size comparison between the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch.
- Changeable straps: The standard watch strap is made of leather, but can be swapped for alternative designs.
- Contextual awareness: Integration with Google Now means the watch will understand where you’re going, and what you’ll be doing when you arrive. For example, the watch will monitor your location, and provide directions without you asking.
- Battery and charging: Motorola wasn’t prepared to share any information on how long the battery would last under normal usage, or how the device would be charged. However, wireless charging seems most likely, as the Moto 360 doesn’t have any ports on the chassis. Right before the start of Google I/O, a posting for a “Motorola Wireless Charger” appeared on the FCC’s website. In a letter to the FCC, Motorola says that the Qi charger is “intended for use with the Moto 360 wrist-worn device.” In early August, images of the Moto 360 wireless chrager appeared on the site Mister Gadget. The charger is stylish and round.
- Water resistant: It’s confirmed the watch is water resistant, but exact details won’t be shared until release.
- Compatibility: The Moto 360 will work with all Moto smartphones, and all Android devices using Android 4.3 or above.
- It will run Android Wear: You can talk to it by saying “OK Google” and it appears to run an unmodified version of Google’s new operating system. (Learn about Android Wear.) Android Wear is suitable for both round and square watch faces.
- It has gesture support: According to a Motorola Blog post, “with just a twist of the wrist you can see who’s emailing or calling, what time your next meeting is or a friend’s latest social post.”
- It will be available in multiple styles: Motorola says that it will come in a “variety of styles,” which we take to mean different colors, bands, and materials.
- It’s coming to the U.S. first: Sorry DTers around the world. The United States will get first grab at this particular watch this summer. Global availability will follow.
- The Lenovo purchase won’t stop it: At a Motorola panel at MWC last month, executives said that they don’t believe the pending sale of Motorola from Google to Lenovo will affect upcoming products like this watch and the next Moto X.
- It will go on sale later this summer. During Google I/O, Google revealed that the Moto 360 will go on sale later this summer. Unfortunately, the company failed to reveal how much the smartwatch will go for.
- It will be made of plastic. Motorola will make the Moto 360 using plastic, according to TechNews. This runs contrary to reports that the Moto 360 will be made of metal.
- Wireless charging capabilities make it thick. In the same report, it was revealed that, due to the Moto 360’s wireless charging capabilities, it will be 13.5mm thick. The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live are 9.95mm and 8.9mm thick, respectively. In addition, the Moto 360’s display will have a diameter of 1.88 inches, or 48mm.
Sadly, the Hangout didn’t provide us with as much detail as we hoped. We didn’t even get a good, close look at the Moto 360 itself. More Hangouts are promised during the run up to release, and the closer we get, the more information will be made public. At the moment though, the finer points regarding the Moto 360 remain a mystery. We’ll be keeping a close, ahem, watch on it, and bring you more news as it’s released.
Updated on 08-04-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added new photos of Moto 360 wireless charger and photo size comparison with LG G Watch. Photos courtesy of Mister Gadget.
Updated on 08-04-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added alleged press shots of the Moto 360 leaked by @Evleaks.
Updated on 08-01-2014 by Williams Pelegrin: The Moto 360 will reportedly be made of plastic rather than metal. In addition, it will reportedly be 13.5mm thick.
Updated on 06-25-2014 by Williams Pelegrin: Google revealed that the Moto 360 will go on sale later this summer.
Updated on 06-24-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added leak of Moto 360 wireless charger from FCC website.