Motorola: ‘We had doubts about wearables’


Commitment by Google to the Android Wear platform was the impetus for its Moto 360 smartwatch

Motorola Mobility has admitted it had doubts over its initial entry into the smart wearables market but said the acceleration of the Android Wear platform has convinced it that it made the right move.

That is according to Motorola Mobility UK general manager Nick Muir (pictured), who was taking part in the end-of-day panel discussion with Huawei UK and Ireland product director James Powell and Virgin Atlantic Airways IT solution delivery specialist Manuela Pichler.

The manufacturer announced its first smart wearable product, the Moto 360 smartwatch (below), in March. Following a US launch in the summer,  it has now entered wider UK distribution and is available from £199 at retailers O2, Tesco, and John Lewis.

The Moto 360 runs  on Android Wear – the operating system specifically designed by Google for smart wearable products – and has a rounded timepiece. It responds to twists of the wrist to display calls, emails, social network notifications and meeting alerts, as well as the “OK Google” voice command, which allows users to operate the search engine, schedule appointments, set alarms, take notes and send texts.

However, Muir admitted that when Motorola first began looking at prototypes for the product, it was unsure of its success due to the limited number of apps available from Android Wear. But that has now grown tenfold to more than 250, convincing the firm that the ecosystem is in place to drive demand and provide the best user experience.

“Once you step away from the fact that the product is nicely built and looks good, the user experience is primarily driven by the Android Wear ecosystem rather than the device itself,” he said. “When we first started looking at Moto 360 prototypes, there were all of 25 Android Wear applications.

“We didn’t panic so much but there were eyebrows raised as we weren’t sure it was going to go the way we wanted it to go and how much this product could do.

“However, when we launched the Moto 360 there were more than 250 Android Wear applications, and that number is rising very, very quickly.”