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No Squares in Google’s Circle: Why the Moto 360’s Shape Matters
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No Squares in Google’s Circle: Why the Moto 360’s Shape Matters

OK Google, we’re floored by the Moto 360. The eye-catching smartwatch introduced at Google’s I/O conference is ...

No Squares in Google’s Circle: Why the Moto 360’s Shape Matters

OK Google, we’re floored by the Moto 360. The eye-catching smartwatch introduced at Google’s I/O conference is launching this summer, and we can’t wait. Why? That sexy, round body.

 

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The Circle Is Complete

The Moto 360’s body makes it stand out immediately. We love that Google and Motorola went traditional with the design, but there are some pretty cool reasons behind their choices.


Google’s watch looks like a watch because it was designed by kids. No, seriously. Motorola execs divulged that during planning, they gave a group of children a very simple task: draw a watch. To no one’s surprise, almost every child drew a strapped circle, and Motorola had their basis. One quick design contest later, and the final mockup was done.

 

Ergonomics are Essential

On Wednesday, Motorola’s head of design Jim Wicks held a Q&A via Google Hangout, with plenty of interesting insights into the 360’s design philosophy. It’s not just about appearance - Wicks claims that a round watch offers a better overall user experience.

 

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"People need to understand if you take the same surface area with a square, it won't be as comfortable," Wicks said. Comfort is a priority - he stated that if they had made a square watch in the same size, the corners would poke the wearer’s wrist bones.

The circle is also a solution to a problem we’re yet to have -- screen orientation. The square smart watches currently on the market have four orientations: the Moto 360 has hundreds. Not only that, but Wicks also says that a round face naturally draws the user’s eyes to the centre of the screen. Win-win.

 

If you can’t be first, be the best

As much as we’re touting the circular shape like it’s the reinvention of the wheel, Motorola isn’t the first to do it. The Martian Notifier was also a circular smartwatch, albeit one that only displayed notifications from a paired smartphone. In contrast, the Moto 360 runs on Android Wear, an extension of the Android mobile OS made for wearables.

 

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There’s really no pioneering here, just a good idea executed well. We’ll be back with impressions from the Moto 360 once we get our hands on it (or better, once it gets on our hands) this summer.

 

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