moto 360

Arguably, the main purpose of a smartwatch is to tell the time. While the watch faces the Moto 360 originally came with are all attractive, it was disappointing to see only seven. There are third party options but none — including the premium versions of Watchmaker and Facer — are great.

Motorola recently released an update that added another five that brings the total to 12, and all five new ones are fantastic. They are all customizable to a degree and best of all, seem designed specifically with ambient mode in mind. I.e., they look great on, and they still look great even when dimmed. Good job Motorola!

Companies often don’t get much coverage on product updates, so perversely don’t have much incentive to update. Let’s buck the trend: here are the five new watch faces for the Moto 360.

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Amazon surprised people with the Echo, a speaker you can talk to Siri-like and get information from.

It’s a cool, futuristic sounding idea, but I’m not sure it’ll work in the short-term. Siri and Cortana haven’t taken the public by storm yet and that doesn’t bode well for Echo. One key difference is that the Echo will always be present (in a given room), so you don’t have to pull out your phone and tap a button; you can just speak to it. Amazon hopes this lack of friction will be a game changer.

I’ll tell you why it’s not though, and that’s because I can do that already…with my Moto 360, which is always on me and has voice control, yet doesn’t work all that great.

Amazon might out-execute Google, but I have doubts. The $199 doesn’t help either. Still, I love fiddling with these kinds of gadgets, and will post a review if I ever get my hands on one. Video after the break.

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The Withings Activite is an analog styled watch with fitness tracking capabilities. As GigaOm describes it:

The Activite can track calories, steps, running workouts, and sleep. It’s even waterproof, and Withings hopes to add a swimming workout mode soon.

The watch looks great. Gorgeous even. I like how there’s a secondary dial that shows you how close you are to your steps goal.

However, this would make a poor fitness tracker. Here’s why: first, a watch is fundamentally different from a fitness band; and second, data from the Activite will live in isolation from all your other health data.

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According to Forbes, Microsoft will launch its wearable device in the coming weeks in time for the holiday season. It’s a health focused device and will work with Android, iPhone and of course Windows Phone.

I had written my concerns about the viability of a Microsoft wearable device before, and now that I’ve used the Moto 360 daily the last few weeks and the Pebble before that for over a year, my skepticism has only increased.

Let’s first examine the upside. Assuming Microsoft can pull off a great product and generate lots of interest and sales, it could undercut Android Wear and Apple Watch. Why develop (hardware and/or software) for a restricted platform, when there’s a successful multiplatform-platform available?

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I got a Moto 360 a few weeks ago and have been using it daily since. See the watch review here, the Android Wear review here and a comparison between Google’s and Apple’s implementations here. And now, the final look of this mini-series: third party apps.

Here’s the bottom line — they’re not very good.

I downloaded a bunch but will only talk about three that I ended up keeping, sorta: OneNote, RunKeeper and Wear Mini Launcher.

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We’re talking Android Wear this week, and back to our regularly scheduled program after a brief diversion with Windows 10.

Today I’d like to compare Google’s Android Wear with the Apple Watch. Of course, we don’t have complete information on the latter, and Apple will definitely change a few things from now until release — but we’ve seen enough to come to some conclusions.

Google’s fundamental philosophy for the smartwatch diverges greatly from Apple’s. Google wants you to use voice to perform actions whenever you can — when you tap on an Android Wear watch face, the only prompt you get is Google’s command to “Speak now.” The list of actions and apps you can scroll through after is a secondary option.

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Yesterday, we reviewed the Moto 360. Please check it out if you haven’t already. Today, we take a closer look at the operating system.

The future of the smartwatch is to be the primary entry point for your digital life. The device you scan first to get an update on what’s happening, and the preferred device for quick interactions like messaging a friend. You’ll want to use your voice; when it works, it’s the most elegant way to control this small interface.

This is the future that Google has presented with Android Wear. It’s an exciting one — even more exciting than Apple’s vision — but realization remains in the horizon. Android Wear may change the future tomorrow, but today it only provides a promise for it.

Android Wear is that pimply teenager. You can see the potential, but the teenager just too annoying to be taken seriously yet.

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