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3/19/2014
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Moto 360 Smartwatch: 7 Challenges

Can Motorola's smartwatch, based Google's Android operating system for wearable devices, succeed where others have failed?

data subscription fees. How much will users really pay to receive even more notifications than they already get?

3. Battery life
The first iteration of the Samsung Gear was criticized for inadequate battery life. The next version is said to be able to last for 2-3 days before a recharge. The Moto 360 will need to match that, but that may depend on whether the device is used heavily -- location updates and frequent messaging on a color screen could put a strain on available power. The Pebble, which can go for about a week between recharges (by ditching the power drain of a color screen and camera), suggests less may be more for smartwatches.

4. Screen visibility
Motorola's video depiction of Moto 360 is a triumph of video effects. But it doesn't reveal how the device's screen will actually look in bright daylight. At present, there isn't really a display technology that looks great, provides high visibility both indoors and outdoors, and can be refreshed rapidly.

5. Size
The Moto 360 looks like it's about the size of an Oreo, which may be a bit too thick to be worn comfortably, depending on the device's actual weight. And comfort matters. It will be interesting to see whether any of Google's fashion partners sign off on smartwatches that sacrifice thinness to accommodate necessary electronics. It may be that smartwatches won't really take off until we have another decade of miniaturization to shrink the necessary electronics into the form factor of a modern, ultra-slim wristwatch.

6. Charging
Moto 360 will be judged not only on battery life but also on recharge time and on recharge mode -- it should really support inductive charging, so there's no need to attach a power cord. Ideally, you'd never need to remove it from your wrist; it would be recharged passively by arm motion.

7. Audio quality
Will the Moto 360 play alert sounds or turn text into spoken sounds? Will it sound good to its wearer? Will it annoy those nearby? At least Motorola won't have to worry about "Moto 360" being turned into an epithet along the lines of "Glasshole."

Smartwatches and wearables are coming. Maybe Motorola will deliver. But it's more likely that we will have to wait until Apple reveals what it has up its sleeve before it's clear whether smartwatches represent a smart purchase this year.

Too many companies treat digital and mobile strategies as pet projects. Here are four ideas to shake up your company. Also in the Digital Disruption issue of InformationWeek: Six enduring truths about selecting enterprise software. (Free registration required.)

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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anon2184861395
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anon2184861395,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/14/2014 | 2:25:17 AM
<200
hope its less than 200. Else it will lose its hype. 
rjslack65
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rjslack65,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/26/2014 | 10:24:30 AM
Re: Cost Isn't the Determining Factor
I prefer the round face but would not pay more than $199 for it
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
3/20/2014 | 12:47:30 PM
Re: Cost Isn't the Determining Factor
$299 and $99 have always been "magic" prices in consumer electronics. I am not sure people will pay for a luxury smartwatch any more than they will a luxury tablet. A luxury case, perhaps.
anon1920032546
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anon1920032546,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/20/2014 | 10:07:22 AM
How Smart of a Watch?
This is what I would want in a smart watch.    If it had a special graphics output to connect to an LCD and link to a wireless keyboard, and mouse, I could see real value.  A basic internet browser, open office, would allow it to be a micro computer productivity tool. The ability to connect to my home wireless so I had access to a printer, netflix.  I could then stream from my home wireless to the watch, and watch movies in my bedroom.  Nice.

With these features, I can see the $300.00 price tag.  Without being a portable computer, phone, I would consider it to be a gadjet luxury item.  If I could have a small functional phone, computer on my wrist, that would be totally cool!  I would pay the $300.00  I know I am asking for allot in a small device, but if I do not ask, I will never recieve.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/19/2014 | 6:01:40 PM
Re: Cost Isn't the Determining Factor
I'm sure Motorola would like to offer its timepiece at Rolex-like prestige prices, but you can't do that with tech gadgets that become obsolete in six months. When you buy a $4,000 or $40,000 watch, you expect it to last for a while.
bobsonn
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bobsonn,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/19/2014 | 5:59:25 PM
Cost Isn't the Determining Factor
I'm not sure cost is a much of a factor when buying a watch.  All quartz watches keep good time.  So the expensive Seiko, Citizen, or Rado doesn't offer any greater functionality than a reasonably priced Timex.  Rolex makes many fantastic mechanical watches, but they don't tell time any better than the Timex.  Perhaps, not even as well.  A $16,000 Breitling watch might be able to save my life -- actually, it's more like it would help others save my life -- but doesn't tell time any better than any other watch.

Watches have quite a conspicuous consumption factor.  Casio's Databank watches?  When is the last time you saw one of those.  Shoot, even James Bond has ditched the online watch of "The Spy Who Loved Me" for a basic watch.  I suspect that smartwatch sales will be driven by conspicuous consumption more than actual tangible benefit.

A watch that has to be recharged every few days -- what a pain! -- had better be able to stand on its own.  If I've still got to carry a phone, I've only gained more clutter and aggravation in my life.  Remember how uncomfortable you were the last time your watch quit or you left home without it.  The smartwatch doesn't sound smart to me.

Bob
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/19/2014 | 5:49:20 PM
Re: Moto 360 Smartwatch design and price
$99 and no subscription fee.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
3/19/2014 | 11:26:25 AM
Moto 360 Smartwatch design and price
Will the round design make this smartwatch more appealing to you, readers? What is an acceptable price that would make you try a smartwatch?
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