How the Moto 360 got its striking design (watch the Hangout here)

How the Moto 360 got its striking design (watch the Hangout here)
Yesterday, the Moto 360 won the day because of its striking design. Even though today we are hearing that design may be causing production issues, it is still a design worth talking about. This is actually kind of odd, because Motorola did the one thing that no one quite expected when it came to smartwatches: don't design it to be a smartwatch, design it to look like a watch. That idea alone is unique. 

In a few minutes, the lead designer of the Moto 360 team, Jim Wicks, will be hosting a Google+ Hangout to discuss the ideas that went into the design of the Moto 360. But, The Verge has just posted an interview with Wicks that covers what are likely to be similar topics that will be discussed in the Hangout. So, if you don't have time to watch the Hangout, we'll give you the breakdown here. 

According to Wicks, Motorola went through two rounds of design and various prototypes before coming across an important idea, which is that the company had "to really embrace what this space is all about", and aim for design that was familiar to those who use watches on a daily basis. A watch is a fashion statement, and good design practices in the space are well established. Wicks and his team wanted to be able to show the Moto 360 to experts in the industry and get the response, "Yep, that's a watch"; and, show it to consumers and have those people feel that the device fit what was "both emotionally and culturally familiar" about a watch.

Beyond that, the idea was followed along in how people used watches, which Wicks says is counter-intuitive. Watches may tell time, but people don't use them to see what time it is, they are used as reference for what needs to be done in the future and how much time is left before that event. This means that sometimes you need to see the time, but other times you need to see something else that is more important; and that's where Android Wear comes in, because it can give you directions, weather, upcoming events, messaging notifications, and plenty more. According to Wicks, Motorola was already aiming for this sort of functionality when Google came around with Android Wear (because remember, the two companies are run independently from each other, so Motorola didn't get any inside track.)

Also, there was the interesting idea of shifting Touchless Controls to a watch. Wicks describes it amusingly, saying that we have always spoked to our watches, but the comments were usually something like "oh shit I’m late", which will now be translated to "navigate home" with Android Wear. 

The Google+ Hangout should be starting any minute. If you want to watch the Hangout, just head here or watch below. We also have a recap of the most important bits of info here.

source: The Verge



1. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

What about the "awesome" Samsung phone that was supposed to be announced today?

10. MrWilli5

Posts: 77; Member since: Feb 13, 2011

it was apparently just a camera that takes nice selfies

14. Tizen007

Posts: 575; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

3. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

I already love it. Battery life, well I hope it's good, but that display looks quite high-res and big compared to size of the watch. Motorola ain't stupid, however, so I guess that they have solved it somehow.

5. N-fanboy

Posts: 543; Member since: Jan 12, 2013

I want a smartwatch that looks like the HTC One.

6. shimshim

Posts: 18; Member since: Jul 04, 2012

the simple to this answer is: photoshop. photoshop is making all these cheap quality products look like stellar designs...which includes the pebble steel. the watch is a cheap craftsmanship with sharp edges and a design that merely surpasses a fail. at least photoshop is a great product anyway !

17. KillgoreTroutTime

Posts: 433; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

Says the person who has never held a Gear or Pebble steel. If anything, they are much better in person than in pictures and video.

11. breathlesstao unregistered

It's hardly striking though, I mean not the first time Motorola outed a circular display. Has everyone forgotten about the Aura?

15. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

A friend of mine had one of those, very nice indeed

26. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Ok I'll give you that one. I forgot about that. Compared to isnt as striking. I think the best thing about this is it looks like a regular watch.

16. KillgoreTroutTime

Posts: 433; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

Watches were forced to be circular at first because of the shape of a clock. You people who think watches must be circular are the same people who are reluctant to change. There is no reason why smart watches need to stay the same shape. Why do you think every product has to fit your personal design bias? Smart devices that are worn on the wrist don't have to look like watches at all.....BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT WATCHES.

21. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Well that's very simple, if the devices don't fit people's "personal design bias", they probably just won't buy them. Why are you so up in arms over this? It's not like you don't have a multitude of square and rectangular smartwatches to choose from. Why should people be forced to deal with your personal design bias against round smarwatches? If you don't like a round watch, don't buy one, simple as that. Why in the hell should they all look similar anyway? Talk about bias.

28. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

EXACTLY!! For years....I hated square watches. I mean regular watches. When I got old enough to buy my own I swore off digital ones and square ones. Thats 2 designs that crowd the smart watch market right now. A circular design....give us......wait for it.... Choice. Which I thought was one of the beauties of many hardware choices.

47. KillgoreTroutTime

Posts: 433; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

I am not up in arms. I was just stating my opinion. I am all for variety.

53. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Read your comment again. You're basically accusing people who like the round design and are finally willing to look at smarwatches because of them as behind the times and wanting the entire smartwatch industry to follow that trend. I don't think anyone is saying that the entire industry should, but to have more than just the square and rectangular designs offered. Looking at what currently out there now, you could class them into two categories. The Pebble Steel and Galaxy Gear style (stainless steel premium look) and the Pebble and Sony smartwatch style (plastic style). While people will point out that there are many differences between them, for the everyman on the street, they'd be more easy to confuse between models than smart phones, and there are plenty of people who ask if it's an iPhone regardless if it's an iPhone, Android, WP, or BB. At this point, the round design of the Moto360 will set it apart from the rest. And there's nothing wrong with having high tech innards in a classic shell. People put modern components in old home stereo shells, restomods are classic car bodies with modern drivetrains, suspensions, and even frames in some cases. Motorola's just going that route with their smart watch. It's no different than what Ford, Chevy, and Dodge did with the rerto bodied Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger.

55. KillgoreTroutTime

Posts: 433; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

I think the only one that is truly set apart is Pebble. Do you really think this Moto 360 will have an always on display? It would be great, but I don't think that kind of tech is available yet. I think the mainstream would actually prefer the e-ink type(i know pebble isnt eink, but that type) than a watch with an all black face regardless of its shape. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple or some other big company went away from the lcd/led/amoled. The battery tech just isn't there to support an always on display.

58. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

It wouldn't have to be always on. They could use a gesture, like what Moto does on their phones to open their cameras (2 quick half turns, so twist your wrist twice), they could use knock knock like from LG or the new One is using, press the button on the side, set it up like Moto's Active Display, or even like their Touchless Controls. And if the do go the Active Display or gesture route, an amoled screen would be beneficial since you'd only turn on the necessary pixels. Plus I'd imagine an amoled screen this small with only those pixels activated wouldn't take much battery. But either way, at this point there isn't really anything to say how good or bad it will be. Many didn't think the Moto X would be worth a damn, but once people finally used it many changed their minds. Let wait to see the final product before we call it a failure.

60. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Here's a snippet from AndroidPolice on how it's planned to work. "According to Motorola, Moto 360 will allow you to see alerts and notifications with a "twist of the wrist." That seems to indicate it will have a screen that is off, but wakes up when you move your wrist in a way that indicates you are looking at it – sort of like the Moto X. It also has "Ok Google" built in."

62. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

YES!! Now....can that be done for the clock face? I am very interested in this now....battery life was a concern for me and many. This sounds like it will be fine.

64. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

That is for the clock face as well I'd imagine. Think Motorola's Active Notifications, that also works on the same principal. Getting jarred or picked causes the display to partially come one and show the time and any pending notification. I imagine the button is to activate Google Now Voice, unless they are also going the include Moto's Touchless Controls as well.

65. KillgoreTroutTime

Posts: 433; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

So you think a big round watch that has a completely black face will be attractive to people? I understand phonearena people will like it, but the blank screen look is a big reason people aren't interested in these devices yet. I use a moto x, so i know all about it, but the photos of the 360 look nice because 1. the screen is on and 2. most of the pictures are top views. People may not realize just how thick that device really is. Also, what was it, 48mm? I tend to wear 42mm watches, anythnig bigger in a normal watch looks ridiculous to most. Not very many normal watches are 48mm+

27. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Digital watches don't need to be circular either, but most are. It's more comfortable, a more organic shape and just looks better. Then again, if you're so "round" that you can't stand circular watches, I'm sure that you'll be able to find a triangular one if you look hard.

30. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Ok....then tell OEM's, retailers, writers not to call them smart watches... Until then....they will be always known as smart watches....not smart devices. We call smart phones phones....not smart devices. We call tablets...tablets ....not mobile computing device.

45. trickster_qc

Posts: 107; Member since: Jun 18, 2013

He seems like a cool guy. But importantly he stated that everything they learned from/for the Moto X is inside this watch. Sounds promising. But we up close! And we can see in the dude's face, at the end, that he wants to tell us more!

61. elnas

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 20, 2014

I love this smart watch. But the form factor had to give way for comfortability in interacting with the screen of the watch. I'm sure most people would not rather have a round screen for their laptop or tablet. It would be more appealing for a wristwatch though. Kudos Motorola. Impressive!!!

63. Gadgety

Posts: 173; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

A lot of good decisions - round form factor is just more attractive, very slim bezel, metal and leather - yeah! No USB or camera junk on my wrist. Always on visibility is important, too. Glad they learned from MotoACTV. Now, please don't miss vibration alerts, and please make a lot of different styled watch faces, or... even a suite so that I can create my own watch faces in an easy way.

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