When the Moto 360 first hit the scene, its reception was… mixed. That round display was eye-catching, but it couldn’t make up for the smartwatch’s all-too-short battery life and undercooked software. Times have changed, though. Motorola trotted out updates that addressed the 360’s early problems, and the Lollipop upgrade gave Android Wear a new lease on life through custom watch faces and a few other useful tweaks. But does that mean it deserves a second chance, especially now that rivals like LG’s G Watch R are vying for your wrist?
I’ll tackle the big question up-front: battery life wasn’t an issue. I could wear the Moto 360 throughout a typical day and still have a significant charge left when I was ready to go to bed. That was no mean feat for me, since I usually have to deal with a steady stream of Hangouts messages and work email. Having said this, I was very, very thankful for the 360’s wireless charging dock. Smartwatches needing clip-on cradles or cables are often a hassle, but Motorola’s wristwear was so easy to top up that I hardly even thought about it.
I’m also a fan of the design, for the most part. I never completely forgot about the black strip at the bottom of the display that creates a “flat tire” look, but it also wasn’t distracting (at least not on my all-black model). The leather strap makes the 360 extra comfortable, and the circular design is subtle enough that I didn’t feel conspicuously geeky most of the time. However, there’s no question that it could stand to be smaller. That 46mm-diameter case is enormous, at least on my moderately sized adult male arm. That’s true of a lot of smartwatches (the ASUS ZenWatch is particularly huge), but there’s something to be said for the discreetness of a smaller device like the 38mm Apple Watch.
The software is a tougher call, even if it’s mostly a positive experience. Android Wear is supremely handy for the basic information I like to see over the course of a day, like weather or sports scores. And in a chilly Ottawa winter, it was more than a little helpful to respond to Hangouts messages or check in to Swarm without reaching for my phone and freezing my hands in the process. The Lollipop update also added quite a few features and overall polish that were missing the first time around. It was nice to have a wide choice of watch faces, for example, and I could tune out most alerts if I set the 360 to only give me priority notifications. I didn’t have to use that last mode very often, but I was happy to know I could avoid information overload when necessary.
However, it’s all too apparent that Android Wear still needs more time in the oven. For one thing, its approach to apps is backward — unless I was launching something I had recently used, I had to go to the very bottom of a long menu just to start browsing the app list.
The interface isn’t that great at surfacing the information I need at the time I need it, for that matter. Spotify’s Android Wear card always showed up on cue, but Sonos’ controls appeared inconsistently even when there was music playing. And the watch frequently defaulted to showing apps that weren’t really relevant to the situation at hand; no, I don’t need to check out my fitness goals in the middle of the workday. Google may be right that watches are primarily about receiving passive streams of information, but that doesn’t excuse doing a poor job when I want to be more active.
Even with those quirks in mind, it’s pretty clear the Moto 360 has turned a corner in half a year’s time. It’s no longer the underdeveloped novelty that it was on launch, and it’s now my pick of the current Android Wear crop. True, it doesn’t have the G Watch R’s true circular display, the ZenWatch’s custom software or the Sony Smartwatch 3’s GPS, but I’d say of the three, it strikes the best balance between looks, functionality and price. About the only thing holding back the 360 is the software, but it’s already apparent from the Lollipop update that Google is determined to quickly improve Android Wear. If you’re happy with the current feature set, the 360 is a great buy — and I’m glad I can say that given its rough start.
Motorola CEO Rick Osterloh took to Twitter to answer questions from Moto fans and revealed a few hints about the Lenovo-owned company’s plans for this year.
Starting with Lenovo, the executive said Motorola employees already feel at home in the Lenovo fold, and that the Chinese company gave them a “very warm welcome.” Motorola has been officially integrated into Lenovo on October 30, following a $2.9 billion purchase from Google; since then, representatives of both companies said that Motorola enjoys extended autonomy and that it would remain Lenovo’s main brand in the Western markets.
While Motorola has established a strong foothold in several big markets from around the world (Brazil, India, and China included), the company will continue to expand in 2015, with Central and Easter Europe singled out by Osterloh as targets. Moreover, Brazil is said to be a priority for the expansion of the Moto Maker program.
Asked if Motorola plans to release new tablets in the close future, Osterloh said there are no such plans and pointed towards tablet offerings from Lenovo, including the Yoga line. Motorola’s last tablet was released in 2011. That contradicts the statements of Lenovo boss Yang Yuanqing, who said in October that Motorola-branded tablets are in the pipeline.
There are no plans either for a Motorola flagship that is smaller than five inches. Motorola will probably keep the display of the Moto X (2015) to at least 5.2-inch, though an even larger screen is also a strong possibility.
Osterloh said Motorola will stick to its roughly annual release cycle for the next Moto X, meaning a release in early fall is likely.
“Contextual awareness, Moto Maker options and “premium value”” are Motorola’s main points of focus for its upcoming devices. Osterloh hinted that Moto Maker might be enhanced with more materials, joining the wood and leather “natural” options currently available.
Overall, the company hopes to “expand consumer choices (price points and options), expand our country reach and introduce cool new innovations.”
Osterloh also revealed that Lollipop for the Moto X (2013) is in early testing, that Motorola would love Android Wear to work with iOS (no plans though), and that an LTE variant of the Moto G (2014) is coming “pretty soon.”
More on Rick Osterloh’s Twitter feed.
Lenovo sells multiple tablets. Motorola sells none. Don’t expect that to change for the foreseeable future. Rick Osterloh, Motorola’s President, hosted a brief Q&A session on Twitter earlier today in which he shot down the idea of the company releasing a tablet this year.
During the #AskRickO forum, Osterloh was asked if Motorola would be involved with tablets in 2015 to which he responded that “we don’t have any plans.” Instead, he redirected interested consumers to Lenovo’s tablet lineup. Motorola’s parent company currently sells sixteen Android and Windows tablets through its own online store. There, Osterloh believes a consumer can find a fitting tablet. Osterloh specifically recommended one of the YOGA tablets introduced in late 2014.
Come comment on this article: Motorola lacks “any plans” for tablets, points to Lenovo for that
Lenovo has announced a new phablet to tackle the mid-range market called the Lenovo K3 Note. This phone is pretty similar to the smaller Lenovo K3 that was announced awhile back, but features some improved hardware and an obviously larger screen.
The K3 Note has a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a 64-bit octa-core MediaTek processor, and 2 GB of RAM. You’ll find 16 GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot, plus a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front facing camera. A big bonus is that the phone supports dual-SIM cards, so it’ll be a pretty flexible device.
The phone, like the Lenovo K3, has a very bright, very yellow finish. For some people, that might be a little too loud, but if you want something unique that stands out, or you just like color, it can be a pretty cool design.
Lenovo is starting the pricing for the K3 Note at about $145. It’s definitely a very capable, very cheap device, but don’t expect an international release anytime soon.
source: GSM Arena
Come comment on this article: Lenovo announces the K3 Note phablet with mid-range specs
As laptops continue to become more powerful, there’s still plenty of room for an all-in-one desktop in your life. Their slim profile makes them a bit more desk- or living room-friendly than a typical tower PC, while the large built-in screen is great for getting work done or watching a movie. To help you decide which units are worthy enough to grace your office or den, we’ve taken a look at reviews from trusted critics to find systems that can handle a variety of tasks, including editing documents, watching movies and even some hardcore gaming. Check out the gallery below to see five of the better all-in-one desktops available now, as well as one we’d rather you didn’t buy.
Like a dozing teenager promising to take out the trash, Lenovo’s been pledging to build a Windows Phone handset since November 2011. Microsoft, like a patient parent trying to motivate its offspring, has now tried to inspire its partner by giving Lenovo a very public deadline. In a post on the Microsoft Blog, Terry Myerson has revealed that ol’ Lenny will launch its first Windows Phone handset by the mid-year of 2015. The one-line announcement was buried deep in a story about Windows 10 upgrades, but there’s a sting in the tail for expectant westerners. Unfortunately, the devices will only be available on China Mobile, but we can always hope that Motorola might see what its new owner is doing and take the hint.
Source: Microsoft Blog
Want to buy a smartphone for yourself, but also need to snag a cheap phone for family (or, let’s be honest, a backup for yourself)? Motorola might have you covered. It just kicked off an unusual promotion that gives you a free 3G version of the new Moto E when you buy a Moto X Pure Edition. That’s not so hot if you insist on LTE data for every device, but it’s a no-brainer if you were either set on getting a Moto X or don’t relish the idea of splurging on two phones at once. Don’t spend long deciding what to do, though — Motorola is only running the promo through March 24th.
It’s no surprise that the Moto G is the bestselling smartphone in Motorola’s history — it’s always had solid specs and featured a class-leading display. Perhaps the only complaint that can be levelled at it is the fact that neither the first or second generation handsets launched with 4G support. That isn’t to say Motorola isn’t including it, it’s just that it takes a while. Now, finally, the company is making the best budget phone you can buy even faster.
The Moto G with 4G comes unlocked and you can pick one up direct from Motorola’s website right now for £159. That’s nearly ten pounds less than its 3G counterpart. It’ll also be available to by from Tesco, Carphone Warehouse, Amazon, Argos, Sainsbury’s and Asda from March 16th. Although the second-generation Moto G is available to buy in the US, there’s no LTE support for now, meaning you’ll have to wait a little while longer to get your hands on Motorola’s bestseller.
After the glitzy, high-profile announcements of Sunday, Monday’s march to the convention center is a more business-like affair. There’s still lots to see though, including announcements from a bunch of household names, and a dancing robot. Jump in the gallery for more.
Don’t miss out on all the latest news, photos and liveblogs from MWC 2015. Follow along at our events page.
Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona today and there’s already been a number of big announcements. Get the latest details about the new phones from Samsung, HTC and Lenovo. In other news, Google+ is splitting up and IKEA will sell wireless charging furniture. Head past the break to find out the top stories from MWC and more.
MWC technically starts today, but that doesn’t stop some of the industry’s biggest players trying to get a head start on the fun on Sunday. Besides the big launches, there are a couple of pre-show shows for those off-beat things that don’t need an auditorium to themselves.
It’s been the punchline to plenty of gags, and now it looks as if Google is finally ready to do something with its homegrown social network. The search engine has announced that the photography and social elements of Google+ are being broken into two separate products, one called Photos and the other named Streams.
After lots of perseverance from smartphone makers, wireless charging is finally starting to make an impact. Many big name phones now support the technology and companies like Starbucks are helping to bring it a wider audience. Now, it’s set to receive another big boost, after IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, announced the introduction of a new range of furniture that features integrated charging.
If you didn’t think that your opinion of Tinder could go any lower, something new pops up to make you change your mind. The hookup app has reportedly launched its long-awaited paid tier, but in Europe, users will have to overcome something worse than left-swipes: ageism.
Even though Lenovo unveiled new tablets a little over 12 hours ago, it isn’t quite done with Mobile World Congress announcements just yet. Now it’s taking the wrapper off some more devices. One is the Lenovo Vibe Shot, a superslim handset that looks eerily like a camera, while the other is the Lenovo A7000, apparently the world’s first smartphone to come with Dolby Atmos.
Middle Eastern terror group ISIS has apparently threatened the lives of Twitter’s employees, as well as that of its chairman, Jack Dorsey. The threat was reportedly made as a response to the service’s policy of blocking accounts that directly encourage acts of violence or illegal activities such as terrorism.
You’re going out with friends mid-week, and you don’t want the boss/significant other/parole officer to find out. But it’s a birthday celebration, and Facebook’s auto-tagging the pictures your buddies upload like a dirty snitch. The first piece of advice: never “friend” your parole officer. The second? Maybe grab a pair of these “privacy” glasses from software security firm AVG.
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