In January of this year, Google made the surprising announcement that they were selling Motorola to Lenovo. The 3,000 member mobility team moved into downtown Chicago’s Merchandise Mart building, taking up residence in 600,000 square feet of pure awesomeness that could make even the happiest Google employee a little jealous. The new digs are amazing, complete with a game room, tons of caffeinated drinks, and a rooftop patio area with a beautiful view of the downtown area, and are meant to help the employees achieve their full potential. If there was ever a time for the Motorola Mobility team to be firing on all cylinders, it’s now.
Motorola is widely respected for making solid hardware, and arguably one of the only Android manufacturers to flavor the stock operating system in a good way. If you followed coverage of this years CES, then you know that “wearables” are a big deal right now. Everyone and their mother is looking for a way to get into the market. Samsung, Pebble, LG, and Sony are all pushing to be the first truly successful smartwatch. The issue that has faced these companies so far is striking a balance between functionality and style. Some, like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, have been promising but have missed the mark both in terms of truly being functional and appealing to the greater watch wearing public. The Pebble has a similar problem: it has some ok functionality, but doesn’t appeal to people who aren’t nerds. These are the gaps that Motorola hopes to bridge with the Moto 360.
Motorola is being very tight lipped about the actual functionality of the Moto 360, despite many of their employees wearing them in public to press events. Advertising photos are showing simulated screens of what the watch could do, but no one will say anything definitive.
The one thing that we do know is that the Moto 360 is an attractive looking timepiece, one that the folks at Motorola believe will appeal to the general watch buying public. That’s one down, one to go. If the functionality works as well as the promo’s would have us believe, Motorola may just have a winner on it’s hands.
Just to throw in my own two cents as a watch enthusiast, this is the first smartwatch I’ve seen that appeals to me on both sides of the coin. It has real functionality that is missing from things like the Pebble, and has the style to back it up. We have yet to see offerings from companies like Apple that are notorious for blending style and functionality, but as with all technology, the first one to the market has the opportunity to corner it.