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Wearables Wednesday: Motorola launches new iPhone-compatible Moto 360

With the Apple Watch firmly entrenched as today’s most popular smartwatch, despite being a first-gen product, companies such as Motorola have been spurned on to improve their own Android Wear-based devices. Motorola announced its second-generation Moto 360 smartwatch at the IFA show in Berlin recently, with new colours, shapes and sizes. With an availability of September (and a new Sport version on the cards), as well as iPhone compatibility, there’s suddenly a lot more choice for iPhone owners that haven’t yet been swayed by the Apple Watch.

Motorola unveils its new Moto 360 smartwatch

This year’s updated Moto 360 comes in several sizes – there are two versions of the 42 mm model and a male-only (says Motorola) 46 mm model. The guys’ version of the 42 mm device fits all 20 mm straps, and the ladies’ version has a smaller 16 mm band. All models are 11.4 mm thick.

Thankfully there will be a decent selection of bands to choose from – metal and leather – all of which use a special quick release fastening mechanism. You can also customise the smartwatch using Moto Maker, with more than 300 available combinations of materials and body styles.

Moto 360

Aside from the aesthetics, the displays are perhaps the most important aspect of the watches coming in at 1.37 and 1.56 inches (for the 42mm and 46 mm devices respectively), both sporting Gorilla Glass 3. That translates to 360 x 360 pixels (233 pixels per inch) on the larger watch and 360 x 325 on the smaller models, which have a slightly crisper screen at 263 pixels per inch. Not to everyone’s taste however is the ‘flat tire’ across the lower portion of the watch’s display, which apparently contains an ambient light sensor.

As far as the internals go, the Moto 360 should be no slouch in the performance stakes thanks to a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU, an Adreno 305 GPU and half a Gigabyte of RAM, in addition to 4 GB of storage for apps, pictures and other content. The watch also packs Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, although curiously GPS is only offered on the Sport range.

Moto 360Like many other smartwatches, the Moto 360 measures your daily activities via the included Moto Body software, tracking calories burned, steps taken and various other metrics. There is also an optical heart rate sensor to keep a count of your B.P.M during the day.

Motorola says this second generation model is available to pre-order now in the US, Asia, Latin America and Europe and costs between $299.99 and $429.99. In the UK, it’s expected to start at £229, making it a fair bit cheaper than the Apple Watch Sport 38 mm.

Perhaps the most welcome feature of the Moto 360 is that it is now compatible with the iPhone, and even though it’s not quite as tightly integrated as the Apple Watch is with iOS, it will please many people looking to buy a non-Apple smartwatch that can handle notifications, activity tracking, and looks good to boot.

Here’s a link to the official Moto 360 promo video.

By Roland Banks

Roland Banks has been passionate about mobile technology for the past 20 years. He started his career at British Telecom's research division working on collaborative virtual reality environments, before becoming a video streaming specialist at 3 UK where he helped launch some of the world's first mobile video services. More recently he enjoys writing about his obsession, and developing software that helps mobile operators analyse their subscriber data.

Roland has lived in Asia for the past 5 years, and tries to indulge his other passion for riding motorcycles whenever possible.

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