Moto 360 2016: what we want to see

Moto 360 (2016): Here’s what we know

The Moto 360 (2014) was arguably the first truly stylish Android Wear smartwatch and it was followed up by the even better looking and far faster performing Moto 360 (2015).

Moto 360 (2016): Here’s what we know

The Moto 360 (2014) was arguably the first truly stylish Android Wear smartwatch and it was followed up by the even better looking and far faster performing Moto 360 (2015).

Both watches secured four star reviews from us, but now that we’re deep into 2016, they’re both old news, with increasingly stiff competition from rivals like the Samsung Gear S2, while the Apple Watch 2 sits intimidatingly on the horizon.

So we’re looking forward to the Moto 360 (2016) and hoping it’s up to the challenges it will have to face. So far nothing is known about it, but we’re almost certain it’s coming, given the warm reception the last two got.

We’ll bring you all the news, rumors and updates as we hear them, so keep this page bookmarked, but for now there are a few things we can speculate about, and far more that we hope for.

Cut to the chaseWhat is it? The third smartwatch from MotorolaWhen is it out? Probably SeptemberWhat will it cost? Likely around US$300 (£229, AU$329)Moto 360 (2016) release date

The last two Moto 360 models each got a September launch, so the smart money is on a September announcement for the Moto 360 (2016) as well, though there aren’t yet any rumors that point to when we’ll see it.

Moto 360 (2016) news and rumors

So far, the Moto 360 (2016) has managed to remain shrouded in mystery, which is quite an achievement, given how much the Apple Watch 2 and most other high profile tech in the wearables sector has leaked. But there are some things we can make some solid guesses on.

For one, there’s a good chance that it will be powered by the Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. This chipset has been designed specifically for wearables and it’s both 30% smaller and 25% less power hungry than the Snapdragon 400 found in the Moto 360 (2015), which means it should hopefully make the Moto 360 (2016) longer lasting and potentially slimmer and lighter.

The Moto 360 (2016) is also bound to run Android Wear 2.0, which brings improved watch faces with widget support, better messaging and improved fitness tracking, along with support for standalone access to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular data, so our wearables are less reliant on a phone.

We wouldn’t expect the design will change much, as Motorola is already on to a winner there, but hopefully the Moto 360 (2016) won’t have the flat tire that’s plagued the last two models and it may well get slimmer, especially if it does use the Snapdragon Wear 2100.

What we want to see

We’ll constantly be updating what we actually know about the Moto 360 (2016) above, but now’s the time to talk about what we’re hoping for from the upcoming wearable.

1. An end to the daily charge

One of the biggest problems with smartwatches is that, with the notable exception of the Pebble range, they need to be charged every day or two.

That’s true of the Moto 360 as well and it really holds it back, particularly when a normal wristwatch can keep on going indefinitely.

It’s unlikely that we’ll ever get a smartwatch that never needs charging, but if the Moto 360 (2016) could last three or more days between charges that would be a good start.

Fortunately, the new Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor promises greater power efficiency, so if it uses that, which it likely will, this might be one wish that comes true.

2. Going full circle

The Moto 360 (2015) is an undeniably stylish smartwatch, in fact we threw the word beautiful around in our review and we don’t use that term lightly, but there’s definite room for improvement and the main issue is the ‘flat tire’ which chops off the bottom of what would otherwise be a fully circular screen.

That black bar serves a purpose, as it’s used to hide away all manner of sensors, while keeping a 71.7% screen-to-body ratio, which beats most rivals, but we can’t say the ratio feels particularly wrong on the likes of the Huawei Watch and that has a circular display.

3. Stronger iPhone compatibility

One of the exciting (at least on paper) features of the Moto 360 (2015), LG Watch Urbane, Asus ZenWatch 2 and Huawei Watch is that they are all compatible with iPhones.

But, sadly, you don’t get anywhere near the same level of functionality as you do when pairing these watches with an Android smartphone.

The watch will display your notifications from any app, but that’s about it, as you can’t actually interact with them.

As such while it’s a nice bonus, if your main phone is an iPhone it’s hard to justify buying a Moto 360 (2015), especially as it’s one of the pricier smartwatches, so this year we want full iOS compatibility.

We’re not optimistic that will happen, but with Android Wear 2.0 on board the Moto 360 (2016) may be altogether less reliant on a smartphone, so it might not matter quite as much.

4. Even more customization

One of the great things about the Moto 360 (2015) is how customizable it is, with three size choices and a range of color and strap options.

But it still doesn’t quite offer the level of personalization available on the Apple Watch and as a smartwatch is as much a fashion accessory as a piece of tech (or should be anyway) the more choices the better.

So for the Moto 360 (2016) we want to be able to pick from dozens of different strap designs, materials and colors, along with a wider range of color schemes for the body of the watch, so it feels more unique and personal to us. Sure, the Android Wear Mode bands answer the call for the straps, but we want more options in Moto Maker, too.

5. GPS

If you’re into fitness you might feel like you have to choose between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker, or shell out on both, which isn’t ideal.

The Moto 360 (2015) makes a decent stab at replacing your running watch, with the Moto Body app helping you track your activity, but with no GPS on board you still have to bring your smartphone out with you to track distance and routes.

There’s not really any reason not to have GPS, given that the Sony SmartWatch 3 and more fitness-focused Moto 360 Sport do, so we hope the Moto 360 (2016) is a smartwatch and running watch all in one.

6. Better value

At US$300 (£229, AU$329) the Moto 360 (2015) isn’t cheap and while it’s clearly a high-quality wearable it still struggles to justify its price tag, given that smartwatches are yet to find their killer app or feel like an essential tech accessory.

That’s a problem faced by all smartwatches, but the Moto 360 (2016) ideally needs to either solve it, which, admittedly, is a big ask, or lower the price a bit, to make it more tempting to the likely large segment of the population who will want one without quite being able to justify why.

7. Waterproof, not water resistant

The Moto 360 (2015) is water resistant, so you don’t need to worry too much if you get caught in the rain, but we want the Moto 360 (2016) to go one further and be fully waterproof.

A watch is something we rarely if ever want to have to take off, so we don’t want to fear it getting wet and if the Moto 360 (2016) does become the fitness band killer we hope it does then it’s going to need to be able to survive a few laps of the pool.

8. A sharper screen

At the top end smartwatches have a similar pixel density to a mid-range phone, which given that they have smaller screens and are likely to be held closer to your face isn’t ideal.

It’s also not ideal because we live in a world that’s still primarily used to dumb watches, which don’t have screens or pixelation at all and instead are as pin sharp as, well, a pin, given that they have a real, physical display.

Not to mention the fact that we want our watches to be stylish and pixelated screens don’t fall into that category. So for all those reasons we hope the Moto 360 (2016) pumps the resolution up above the 360 x 330 display of the Moto 360 (2015).

The good news is that there’s every chance it will, especially as the Moto 360 (2015) itself has a sharper screen than the original model.

9. A SIM card slot

Android Wear 2.0 promises to make smartwatches less reliant on phones, but to really remove that reliance the Moto 360 (2016) will need a SIM card slot of its own, so that it can make use of mobile data and fully run apps, even when you’ve left your smartphone at home.

Personally we’re rarely parted from our handsets for long, but there are times when we’d like to be without being cut off from the world, whether it’s because we’re out jogging and don’t want to be weighed down or just need to leave our phone to charge, so a SIM card slot would be appreciated, but only if it doesn’t add too much bulk to what’s already bound to be a chunky device.

10. Wrist whispering

Another feature lacking from the current Moto 360 is the ability to make calls straight from your wrist. Or rather, you can make them, but they’re routed to your phone. That’s partially again down to the lack of a SIM card, but even tethered to a phone we’d like to be able to take calls without picking up our handset.

Talking to your wrist fast-tracks you to looking crazy, but half our smartwatch interactions are voice driven anyway, so it only seems logical to let someone talk back.

Can’t wait for the new 360? Then you’ll want one of these.

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