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    Wednesday
    Oct222014

    Moto 360 - A dumb smartwatch. And that's a good thing.

    Wearables.  That's the new buzzword in technology. From the geeky Google Glass to the Fitbit, tech companies are placing their bets on us putting their schwag on our bodies.  It all hinges on a term called "big data" that we will get into on another post, but basically it comes down to measuring and tracking everything in our lives.

    It’s a scary thought, but it’s here and we need to get used to it. :(

    We started a couple years ago with apps that track your workouts and steps, like Endomondo and Runtastic.  These apps add real value to your lives by allowing you to not only track your workouts and quantify them, but also calling out your friends to bag on them for slacking.  Your phone already tracks your location and movements throughout the day (didn't you know?) so it’s not a big step for them to actually give you the data they collect already.  Comment below if you want a blog post on the scary stuff happening on what the companies actually track and collect.

    The evolution now has moved beyond your phone and into wearables.  Wearables are "usually" tied to your phone through Bluetooth and provide additional data that an app on your phone crunches the numbers on and gives you usable information.  Much like the apps that count your steps, wearables now give you information on your heart rate and location that is more than what your phone can do alone.  If you're scared about the information that the companies collect on you already, you should just stop reading because it doesn’t get better.

    Now we have the new “cool guy gadget” in smart watches.  First off, I can’t emphasize enough how cool it is to actually wear a watch.  10 years or so ago, we all ditched our watches and started checking our phones anytime someone asked the time.  It was cool at first, but I think we can all vouch that it’s kind of a lame move and envy the guy that whips his wrist out and casually tells you the time sans phone.  That’s just gangsta.

    I’ve had the Moto 360 for about a month now and I can tell you it’s NOTHING like what I expected.  And that’s a good thing.  I expected a computer on my wrist.  Never having to take my phone out of my pocket and literally having the world at my fingertips.  This is NOT the case and it’s a really good thing. The Moto 360, like the Pebble and Gear watches, are just an extension of your phone.  They function as a notification system to your existing phone at the core.  Get an email on your phone, boom – it shows up on your watch. Phone call, boom – accept it or deny it on your watch.  Want to know what your schedule looks like for the day, flip your wrist to enable the watch and say “Ok Google, show me my schedule” and it shows up on the watch.  But everything still relies on the information on your phone.

    If your watch was the whole thing, the battery life would suck.  As it is, the 360 gets a full day of life. Pull it off the dock in the morning and put it in the dock when you go to bed.  It has a leather band with its waterproof case, so decide to take it in the shower if you want. Full color displays the same notifications you get on your phone, text pictures and all.  Use the app on your phone to tell it what notifications to push to your watch. Want a digital face because you can’t tell time?  You got it.  Want Roman numerals because you want to brag that you can actually read Roman numerals? Covered.  Geek like that and want to design your own watch face? Get on with your bad self. The Moto Connect app on your phone gets watch faces and apps from the Google Play store and links it to your watch. 

    Oh yeah, this only works with Android phones.  Sorry iPhone users.  You’ll have to wait for the Apple Watch and pay twice as much.  I’m not an Apple hater, but the 360 is a much cheaper option and it gives you just the features that you need. 

    Final roundup – if you’re looking for a computer on your wrist, we’re not there yet.  And we probably should not be there.  Dick Tracy and The Jetson’s didn’t account for battery life and voice recognition. But if you are tired of pulling your phone out every time you get an email, text or call – or if you want quick access to “OK Google, what is the weather like in Costa Mesa”, “OK Google, what time are the Chargers playing tomorrow” or “OK Google, navigate me to Home”, the 360 is for you.

    Also, its pimp to actually check the time on your wrist.