Wear Weekly: Is Modular Next for the Moto 360?

Earlier this week, Lenovo and Motorola shared the stage at Lenovo Tech World in San Francisco to announce the new Moto Z and Moto Z Force. Much like previous Motorola devices, the Moto Z appears to be much of a muchness in the world of Android, but it has one important trick up its sleeve; Moto Mods. With an array of connections on the back and a matching set in any Moto Mod, the Moto Z gains extra battery life, better sound, a projector, and a whole lot more with the advent of the developer kit. The Moto Z is a modular smartphone in so much that it can become another type of device, even if the base model is going to stay the same. Sure, it's no Project ARA, but for a mainstream smartphone, the Moto Z goes further than anything else before it has ever done. Which gets us thinking, if Motorola and Lenovo can do this with a smartphone, can they do it with a smartwatch?

The Moto 360 has been something of a success for Motorola, it helped put their name back on the map for some people, and while the second-generation lost some of its design charm, it gained a lot more in the way of choice. With different sizes, colors, bezel patterns and a whole raft of different strap options, the Moto 360 of 2015 became a real custom choice. With the knowledge gained from developing the Moto Z, are we likely to see something similar with the Moto 360?

Other smartwatches have recently proofed that this is actually doable. The BLOCKS smartwatch came a big step to being a very real product just this week, and it looks like a great idea. BLOCKS uses connectors not all that uncommon, just in a different form factor, but the pins used in the Moto Z are a whole different ball game altogether. Not only do they work instantly, but they also manage to transfer huge amounts of data as well. These would be perfect in a watch like the Moto 360 and the Moto Mod concept could easily be used in different straps, allowing Motorola to sell lots of new Moto Mod straps (which appears to be a thought at the front of their mind) and making Moto Maker feel more than just a way of choosing a different style, but also different functions.

There's one big problem with all of this however, and that's Android Wear. Heavily controlled by Google, it's unlikely that Motorola will be able to simply adapt the Moto Mod system as it is in the Moto Z. When LG launched the Watch Urbane LTE 2nd Edition before Google appeared ready for Android Wear to gain calling support, it mysteriously disappeared from shelves, and then reappeared once the Marshmallow update for Wear was rolling out, complete with calling support. Whatever Lenovo and Moto have in store for the new Moto 360 will no doubt launch later this Fall alongside Android Wear 2.0, and we might be surprised to see them launching something completely new.

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About the Author
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Tom Dawson

Former Editor-in-Chief
For years now I've had a heavy interest in technology, growing up with 8-bit computers and gaming consoles has fed into an addiction to everything that beeps. Android saved me from the boredom of iOS years ago and I love watching the platform grow. As an avid reader and writer nothing pleases me more than to write about the exciting world of Android, Google and mobile technology as a whole.
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