The arm

Af­ter sev­eral false starts and amid ru­mours of Ap­ple pre­par­ing to cap­ti­vate the mar­ket, the word ‘smart­watch’ is now be­ing added to the Ox­ford English Dic­tionary. Along with ‘selfie’. It may not be quite as de­fin­i­tive as the smart­phone was, but the era of

Finweek English Edition - - TECHNOLOGY -

Mo­torola was re­spon­si­ble for the f irst mo­bile cellular phone on the mar­ket with its Dy­naTAC in 1984. Now the brand is at the fore­front of the mo­bile mar­ket again with its Moto 360 smart­watch, which will be the in­dus­try stan­dard, at least un­til Ap­ple has its say – and no-one knows when that will be. Right now Google’s Wear op­er­at­ing sys­tem is the pin­na­cle of smart­watch devel­op­ment and the Moto 360 is the pre­mier plat­form. The smart watch i s f i nally here, al­though you prob­a­bly won’t want one yet.

No­body bought one, save a hand­ful of su­per-nerds in Sil­i­con Val­ley.

There have been many more at­tempts since then. The Fos­sil Aba­cus Wrist PDA that ran the pop­u­lar Palm OS and had a diary, phone and other apps. The more re­cent LG GD910 in­tro­duced a hint of style to smart­watches and Sony has bet on the new mar­ket with its own range of prod­ucts.

Skip for­ward a few years and Sam­sung launched its Gear range, beat­ing Ap­ple to the smart­watch mar­ket, but with a clumsy prod­uct that has been met with a sub­dued re­sponse. The watch was far more ca­pa­ble than any­thing like it be­fore, but failed to de­fine the cat­e­gory and had some aw­ful traits, such as a poor bat­tery life.

This time it ’s dif­fer­ent. Google Wear, based on the pop­u­lar An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tem, is start­ing to cap­ti­vate de­vel­op­ers. Mo­torola has come up with the f irst piece of hard­ware that has any fash­ion ap­peal and looks like some­thing you’d ac­tu­ally want on your arm. This isn’t the mass-mar­ket prod­uct that will de­fine the cat­e­gory, but is the lead­ing pre­cur­sor to the big time.

It’s un­cer­tain what will be­come of Mo­torola – the com­pany was sold to Google in 2012 and last year repack­aged and ac­quired by Len­ovo, leav­ing bits and pieces – mostly patents – with Google.

Next month may or may not see Ap­ple en­ter­ing the fold. It might be some time be­fore Tim Cook un­veils what­ever Ap­ple is work­ing on – and it’s likely to be more fo­cused on health and f it­ness than no­tif ica­tions and apps. Un­til then Google and Mo­torola own the game

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