Moto 360 3rd Gen Has Been Revived With an Overhaul, But it Isn't Entirely Motorola's
Despite the manufacturing ownership overhaul, the Moto 360 3rd gen sticks to its for-everyone formula, with the hope of capturing a bigger market than before.
Motorola Mobility has pulled off a neat surprise, and brought back the Moto 360 smartwatch from the dead. After making two generations of the general purpose smartwatch that seemingly suited everyone, Motorola discontinued it and exited the smartwatch market, citing lack of customer base making the product not profitable for business. However, the smartwatch appears to be back now, although it isn't quite entirely Motorola's.
A report by The Verge states that the Moto 360 3rd gen is actually made by eBuyNow, which in the outsourced manufacturing and development market, is a fairly reputed name. The Canadian firm lists Microsoft's retail-end products, and televisions under Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic and Sharp's brand names as some of its bigger projects to date, showing that it is not a first-timer in licensing a brand to cash in on the value of an established equity. In a way, this seems quite beneficial for Motorola right now.
In essence, this allows Motorola to not invest in manufacturing the product. Instead, it is likely that the companies may be working on a revenue share model, which may work better if the Moto 360 picks up pace in terms of sales and shipments. In the first two editions of the Moto 360 smartwatch, the company gained a reasonable base of users. However, the general lack of refinement in the Android Wear (now WearOS) interface and the smaller customer base on the smart wearables industry meant the Moto 360 never really became a runaway hit, and was eventually discontinued. With the Moto 360 3rd gen, the involved parties will look to overturn this, now that the smart wearables industry is considerably bigger.
In terms of the product itself, the Moto 360 3rd gen runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 quad-core processor, which is the latest that Qualcomm offers for wearable devices. This is further combined with 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, and an array of sensors including heart rate monitor and GPS for tracking activities, and NFC for making payments on the move. All of this is powered by a 355mAh battery pack that Motorola claims can be charged in just one hour, and the display uses a 1.2-inch, 360x360-pixel OLED panel to keep things power efficient.
While all of this sounds reliable, what appears slightly questionable is the design choice. Sure, the two-button layout (with the upper button working as a rotating crown) is failsafe, but in today's market that is gradually getting saturated with options, the Moto 360's 3rd gen design looks a bit uninspired and conservative. The rim of the smartwatch's body looks thick in photos, and the further presence of thicker bezels around the edge make the screen look even smaller.
On top of that, Motorola has priced the Moto 360 at $350 (~Rs 25,000). This tips it towards the more expensive end of things, leaving one to wonder if the new Moto 360 can really justify the premium pricing that it commands. There has been no word so far on whether Motorola will bring the smartwatch to India, but a decision might most likely be taken once Motorola launches it in global markets this December.