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Motorola emphasizes design in circular smartwatch

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 5, 2014 at 9:56 am •  Published: September 5, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — Motorola rolled out a circular smartwatch Friday, counting on a more traditional design to win over consumers who have so far shunned other computerized wrist devices.

Smartwatches so far have had rectangular faces, a shape that has turned off many consumers, said Steve Sinclair, Motorola's vice president of product management. Motorola's Moto 360 is round and has an all-metal frame, making it look more like a regular watch.

"People don't want to wear a shrunken-down smartphone on their wrist," Sinclair said.

Reshaping the smartwatch still might not be enough to sway consumers' attitudes. Apart from design, smartwatches have had limited appeal because of their small displays and a requirement to have a companion smartphone nearby. Technology companies have yet to make a compelling case for why everyday consumers need them.

Nonetheless, mobile device makers are still pinning their hopes on smartwatches spurring more sales to consumers who already have smartphones and tablet computers and aren't looking to upgrade right away. Samsung and Sony already have smartwatches out, and new models are coming this fall. Apple is also believed to be working on one that could be announced Tuesday.

Friday's debut of the Moto 360 comes a week after LG Electronics Inc. announced its own circular smartwatch, the G Watch R. LG's watch won't be available for at least a month, though, and its price wasn't immediately announced.

Both watches use Google's Android Wear operating system. The system uses voice controls for basic functions, such as reading messages, checking the weather and getting reminders on calendar appointments.

The Moto 360 costs $250 and starts shipping Friday. That comes with a leather band. A metal-band version will come out this fall for $300.

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