Resurrected Moto 360 coming in late 2019

After almost four years, the Moto 360 has been updated for 2019, but one particular fact isn't exactly what you'd think it is. 

One of the earliest Android Wear (now Wear OS) smartwatches, the Moto 360 released by Motorola in 2014 was lauded for it's industry-leading premium design with a beautiful round OLED touchscreen, a body with the classic analog watch styling, and premium leather wrist bands - a smartwatch that cared about looking like an actual watch rather than just a functional piece of tech. Two years later, Moto 360 sales were slowing down, as more Android Wear smartwatches with similar designs, along with the Apple Watch, flooded the market. Motorola officially ended sales and discontinued the product in 2016 saying the lack of a customer base made investing in the product affect their profit. 

Now, more than three years down the line, a new Moto 360 has been announced. But this time around, the manufacturer isn't Motorola. Instead Motorola, via it's Brand Licensing Program, has licensed it's Moto 360 brand to a third-party company, eBuyNow. eBuyNow is a Canadian firm that lists quite a few big brand names under the projects they've licensed, and is responsible for the manufacture and sales of the new Moto 360, while possibly maintaining a revenue share model with Motorola similar to the partnership Nokia and Blackberry have with HMD and TCL, respectively. This would ideally benefit Motorola with minimal risk, even if the new Moto 360 doesn't stand out in the smart wearable saturated market of today.


Moto series smartwatch (Picture Credit:moto360.com)

"We are thrilled to partner with eBuyNow on the next generation of Moto 360. It takes the smartwatch to the next level, combining premium design with the latest technology," Dave Carroll, Executive Director, Strategic Brand Alliances Motorola Mobility LLC. said in a statement. And, on paper, the watch does seem to hold true to the statement.

The new Moto 360 retains the premium classic watch design of the original, with a few minor external changes and a completely updated set of internals. The biggest design change among them is the removal of the 'flat tire' (a small, semicircular area) from below the smartwatch screen, the equivalent of a smartphone notch to house ambient light sensor and maintain thin bezels. The display is now a 1.2 inch fully circular AMOLED panel with a resolution of 390x390 pixels and supports always-on functionality. The bezels are, however, significantly thicker than the original. The watch runs Google's Wear OS and is powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 quad-core processor. Paired with the processor are a 1GB RAM and 8GB of internal storage, which should enable the memory-hungry Wear OS to run significantly smoother. 

The host of internal sensors including a heart rate monitor and GPS, and the 5ATM water resistance rating make it a potentially efficient fitness tracker, and the NFC chip is useful for Google Pay on the go. The 355mAh battery is apparently rated for a whole day of usage on one charge, which can be further extended by up to three days using the Moto 360's 'Time Only' mode. The included charging cradle supports fast charging and is stated to be capable of fully charging the watch in just sixty minutes, which gives the smartwatch an edge over competitors in the same segment. 


Moto series smartwatch (Picture Credit:moto360.com)

The components are all housed in a stainless steel case with three color options- steel grey, rose gold or phantom black- and two 20mm wrist bands are provided in the box. On the right side of the body are two buttons with a small Motorola logo on them, the top button functioning as a rotating crown and the bottom one programmable to launch an app. The crown functions similar to the ones on Apple Watches and Fossil smartwatches, allowing for easy navigation of the Wear OS interface, and even imitating the haptics of the crowns of classic analog watches. 


Moto series smartwatch (Picture Credit:moto360.com)

With all these features, the Moto 360 3rd generation is priced at $350 (not selling it at 360 might be a missed opportunity for marketing), placing it in direct competition with the Apple Watch Series 5 (review), Samsung's Galaxy Watch, and other players in the Wear OS space like Fossil and Ticwatch. Only time will tell if the news of the manufacturer and seller being eBuyNow affects the sales of the watch. The Moto 360, compatible with both Android and iOS platforms, will be available for pre-ordering mid-November for customers in the US, UK, and Canada, and shipping will begin in early December 2019. There have been no announcements about the watch's availability in India. 

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