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
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