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The Moto 360 gets fresh look, new features

At a small press gathering in New York, Motorola’s lead designer Jim Wicks boasted that the company’s Moto 360 was the most “dominant” Android Wear smartwatch on the market last year. Shortly after touting his company’s small triumph, backed by analyst firm Canalys, Wicks unveiled the company’s second-generation Android Wear device.

The new Moto 360 features software upgrades, an updated design and includes new models specifically targeted at men, women, and fitness enthusiasts.

Motorola’s announcement comes days after Google announced Android Wear for iOS, giving iPhone owners the ability to pair their Android devices, such as the new Moto 360, with Apple’s operating system.

In total, two different watches were announced at the event. First was the Moto 360 which features metal housing, a colored bezel (available in various finishes), and lugs for attaching watch bands. The Moto 360 will be available in two different sizes: 42- and 46-millimeter, with the smaller watch featuring enough battery life to power devices for one-and-a-half days, while its bigger sibling can last two days on one charge.

The 42mm watch comes in two different configurations: one for men, another for women. The latter features a 1.37-inch screen and showcases a slimmer, sleeker watch that also comes with a watch band that can double as a fashionable bracelet.

Meanwhile, the company’s 46mm model, which features a 1.56-inch screen, is aimed at men. Note: I wear a 42mm Apple Watch on a daily basis, which made the 46mm Moto 360 feel gigantic on my wrist when trying it on. But, boy is it a looker.

In the few minutes I poked and swiped around the interface, I didn’t get the sense the device would suffer from the slow performance issues that plagued the first generation Moto 360. Also, Motorola fans that hoped the company would ditch the flat bottom, of the otherwise circular screen, will be disappointed to hear that it’s still very much present on the new device.

Customization options for the Moto 360 range from different bezel finishes, to a variety of colors and metal or leather quick release watch bands. There’s over 300 possible combinations for customizing the new Moto 360, according to the company.

A new feature on the watch—which the company is calling Live Dials—mirrors Apple Watch’s complications. Using the feature, consumers will be able to assign an app to each dial where information is then displayed. With Live Dials enabled, you can quickly glance at your watch and view the current temperature, your step count, or use them as shortcuts to your favorite apps. The display model I was able to use had one of the dials set to launch Shazam, the popular song recognition app, activating the watch’s microphone in an attempt to identify music.

The second watch announced was the Moto 360 Sport. The Sport is available in one size, 42mm, wrapped in silicone, and features built-in GPS functionality for mapping runs or bike rides, without being chained to your phone. The device is targeted at users who want a smartwatch that provides fitness applications, without sacrificing the added functionality Android Wear offers. The Moto 360 Sport will launch later this year, with more details expected in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the new Moto 360 is available for pre-order starting today from Motorola, Best Buy, and Google’s Play Store. Pricing starts at $299 and tips the scale at $429, depending on the model and customization options. Motorola expects to start shipping the product later this month, followed by further availability in Best Buy and Nordstrom retail stores later in the year.

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