You may have just read about Google’s new Android Wear platform, and Motorola has provided a sneak preview of one of the first smartwatches to make use of it - the Moto 360. The Moto 360 is scheduled for a summer 2014 launch and is the first smartwatch we’ve seen that looks more like a watch than a scaled-down mobile phone display.
In part, that’s due to the circular frame and traditional-looking watch face, though this can be overlaid with Google Now-style alerts. “Moto 360′s iconic design, featuring a round face and premium materials, feels comfortable and familiar on your wrist. It’s everything you need, with a look that you want,” said Motorola’s Lior Ron in the official announcement.
The company also confirmed the watch will be running Android Wear — that means you can say, “OK Google,” followed by a voice command to check up on weather conditions, sports scores or the time of your next appointment. As Google’s demo videos show, the emphasis is on useful, bite-sized bits of information on screen and voice control that leaves your hands free.
We don’t have many details about the specifications or the price of the Moto 360, though you can register your interest and sign up for email alerts as of today. Motorola promises that the device will offer “subtle alerts and notifications” that don’t interfere with its discreet looks, and on paper it seems like the company has hit on a winning combination of form and function. Ease-of-use and battery life are crucial though, and we’ll have to wait and see how the device performs in the real world.
With Android Wear now out in the open and the likes of Asus, HTC and LG also confirmed to be working on hardware of their own, we should see a huge increase in choice in the smartwatch market during the rest of the year. Pebble and Samsung will certainly be sitting up and taking notice.