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Moto 360 3 release date rumours: Will the Moto 360 3rd Gen be unveiled at IFA?

Pete Clark
15 Aug 2018
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Rumours suggest Motorola may unveil its latest smartwatch at IFA 2018, but can it eclipse the legendary Moto 360 2nd Gen?

Smartwatches are on the rise. With some 125 million units expected to be sold by the end of this year (up 8.2% on last year), and everyone from Apple to Samsung readying new products, the market has never been more competitive. One manufacturer has remained silent for some time however: Motorola. 

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Indeed, it officially confirmed that it was getting out of the smartwatch game in late 2016, after the launch of the 2nd-gen Moto 360 – one of our favourite smartwatches of all time. Motorola’s corporate vice president of wearables and product development, Shakil Barkat, cited a “lack of broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year”. The subtext here was that Motorola was inclined to play the waiting game; holding off until wearable technology had improved before attempting to develop a 3rd Gen model.

Times have changed, however, and, given the widespread acclaim received by the first two Moto 360 watches, we reckon there’s a new third edition on the horizon. In fact, we think it could be unveiled as early as late September, at Berlin’s annual IFA exhibition - the world’s leading trade show for consumer electronics. Here’s all you need to know about all the latest news, rumours and leaks surrounding Motorola’s potential new smartwatch.

Moto 360 3: Everything you need to know

Moto 360 3 UK release date: When will it launch?

Many were expecting a 2017 release, but Motorola have been tight-lipped regarding an official launch date. The first and second editions of the Moto 360 were released in September 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Three years down the line, we think a third is surely overdue, and the smart money has to be on another September release. Motorola’s big reveal at IFA 2017 was their X4 smartphone, but will IFA 2018 be the year of the smartwatch?

Moto 360 3 UK price: How much will it cost?

If we take a look at the first and second generation Moto 360 watches, we can make an educated guess on the price of the 3rd. The first edition is currently available for £199, whilst the 2nd Gen starts at £229.

If Motorola are going to be competitive in what is already a crowded market, the price of the third shouldn’t stray too far from this. Apple’s latest effort will set you back £329, while Mobvoi’s ‘Ticwatch S’ can be bought for as little as £178. We think the new Moto 360 will fit snugly somewhere between these two.

Moto 360 3 design: What will it look like?

The ‘flat-tyre’ look was one of the few things we didn’t like about the Moto 360 2nd Gen. The design is unique, however, in that it offers a more rounded, ‘watch-like’ look than many of the more angular designs currently available.

If history is anything to go by, then Motorola is likely to stay on-brand, and we should see something similar with the third edition. We’re anticipating a roster of fresh new colours, including black leather, black metal, rose gold/blush leather and silver/cognac leather, bolstering the watch’s premium feel.

Moto 360 3 features: What’s new?

New direction

It’s been all change at Motorola in recent years. Chinese firm Lenovo paid Google a sum of around $2.9 billion in 2014 in order to acquire the company. Lenovo themselves aren’t renowned for producing smartwatches, a range of budget fitness trackers representing their only foray into the market. For this reason it will be interesting to see if the new ownership has an effect on Motorola’s smartwatch output, for better or for worse.

Wear OS

Both the first and second generation Moto 360 watches run Android Wear, which has received mixed reviews since its inception. It was rebranded as ‘Wear OS’ in March this year, out of fear of the former ‘Android Wear’ name alienating iPhone users. Since the Moto 360 was first released in 2014, however, the operating system has come along in leaps and bounds, incorporating a number of new features which we would hope to see on Motorola’s new smartwatch.

Wear OS' Google Assistant tool can help you send messages, get directions and check calendar entries via your smartwatch's microphone – and it is set to become a whole lot more useful on upcoming watches. Smart suggestions mean that if you ask your watch about the weather, you will also receive a forecast for the weekend to glance at. In addition, answers to queries will become much more thorough. Ask about Japanese food in your area, and you’ll receive a run down of the best restaurants, complete with reservation suggestions.

Snapdragon upgrade

The Moto 360 2nd Gen incorporated a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset, which was essentially a cut-down smartphone chip repurposed for life on your wrist. Back in 2016, Snapdragon revealed the Wear 2100 system-on-chip (SoC), which, unlike its predecessor, was designed specifically with wearable technology in mind, and 25% more efficient. This is the chipset powering many of the most recent wave of smartwatches, which means there’s a chance Motorola will use it – or, hopefully, the as-yet-unannounced next iteration of the SoC – in their new smartwatch.

A new version of the Wear 2100 is long overdue. Some commentators think Qualcomm’s lack of innovation is holding the smartwatch market back. It’s good news then, that Pankaj Kedia, Qualcomm’s Senior Wearables Director) told Wareable back in May that the company are set to unveil new silicon this autumn, alongside a number of flagship devices.

According to Kedia, it will be “designed from the ground up for a no-compromises smartwatch experience” – hopefully this means smaller watches with better battery life, as well as improved displays for a sleeker look. Sounds like a welcome upgrade on the already-outdated technology of the 2100, and a perfect fit for the Moto 360 3rd Gen – or whatever Motorola decides to call its forthcoming smartwatch.

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