Smartwatch Wars Kick Off with Moto 360

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Google is wasting no time with this “smartwatch” trend.

The day after the search-engine giant announced Android Wear, a version of its popular Android operating system modified for wristwatches and other small devices, Motorola—still a Google subsidiary for the moment—announced the Moto 360, a “smartwatch” that relies on the software.

The device, which looks very much like a conventional watch with a rounded dial and sleek lines, will likely feature a touch-sensitive dial that can cycle through a variety of screens devoted to messages, maps, and other vital functions. Android Wear isn’t limited to displaying maps and text-based information; thanks to integration with Google Now, it can also answer spoken queries.

Motorola’s early promotional video emphasizes the chic design of the hardware, which resembles a classic round timepiece. Aesthetics aside, though, the Moto 360 will need to combine power efficiency with utility in a small package—something that could prove difficult to pull off, especially in a first-generation device. The other big question is how much time Google (and its partners on the Android Wear initiative) have before Apple introduces its much-rumored “iWatch,” which could leverage its powerful brand into millions of sales.

A timepiece isn’t Google’s only foray into wearable electronics, of course: the company is aggressively promoting Google Glass, its augmented-reality headset available to a small group of “explorers.” Pundits and analysts believe that Google will push Glass into general release in relatively short order, perhaps by the end of this year. If that’s the case, then Google fans could have the opportunity to strap the company’s hardware to a sizable percentage of their outer body.

 

Image: Motorola

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