The world of wearables, and in particular smartwatches, has always attracted me since my childhood. I grew up watching James Bond films and Knight Rider, two fictional worlds where high-tech watches have always had an important part to play. The arrival and democratization of connected watches made one of my dreams come true in 2014 when I bought the Moto 360 (1st generation). In this week's Throwback Thursday article, I will tell you about Motorola's first smartwatch and its role in my perception of Android Wear (WearOS, today).
A not so simple purchase
The arrival on the market of the first Moto 360 (and my purchase) was not sleeper hit, quite the contrary. Announced at the beginning of 2014, the connected watch had accompanied the release of Android Wear, Google's wearable operating system. Unfortunately, unlike the LG G Watch, its biggest rival at the time, it was not until September that the watch was finally on the market.
The Moto 360 had then stolen the spotlight from all the high-tech devices of the time (even the Galaxy Note 4 was not as highly anticipated as this Motorola smartwatch) and quickly sold out due to its success. It is hard to believe that Motorola had not anticipated the demand that its new smartwatch would generate, but the reality was that it took a few more months for the availability of the Moto 360 to widespread.
The reason for this craze was that the Moto 360 was one of the few smartwatches to feature a design with a rounded dial. For the first time, a connected watch no longer necessarily looked like a small computer attached to a bracelet, but rather like a classic watch and status symbol. If the watch seemed relatively thick, it remained light (49 grams), and its strap, whether for the metal version (the one I had bought) or the fabric version, was comfortable on a daily basis. In short, the Moto 360 was undoubtedly the most beautiful smartwatch at that time. Thanks to this, it also created a sudden interest in the world of smartwatches, and the AndroidPIT community experienced a boom with many topics created on the forum.
For those who don't remember, here is one of the videos from back in the day to remind you:
No software support
After my purchase, I wore this watch on a daily basis for almost a year until these inconveniences eventually tired me out. Why? Simply because of the first generation of Android Wear and Motorola's lack of software support. If I could override a rather poor battery life and the lack of complete waterproofing (sometimes a little problematic if you have to do the dishes), Google's system was sorely lacking in features. Software approximations due largely to poor management of the round screen also hindered the experiment. The arrival of the Apple Watch a few months later in the spring of 2015 eventually buried a little more of Android Wear in its first version.
Unfortunately, Motorola had also not seen things in the long term for its first smartwatch. While it had all the aesthetic features to be the perfect candidate for Android Wear 2.0, the Moto 360's processor, a Texas Instruments Soc, did not allow for updating and forced the manufacturer to make too much effort to optimize the OS. A fine example of obsolescence.
A turning point in the smartwatch market
However, despite the defects that were finally inherent in the very first generation of a new product (hello, Samsung Galaxy Fold!), the Moto 360 marked a turning point in the market for smartwatches, which until then had often been caricatured for their uselessness and repulsive design. The excitement generated by the first generation of the Moto 360 has helped manufacturers understand the importance of taking care of the look of their smartwatches. Better still, it has enabled the general public to become interested in this type of device and the wearable market to emerge. Since then, it has been growing rapidly and continues to increase year after year (27.5% in 2018 according to IDC).
And what is the smartwatch you still remember with emotion?