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Of Smart Watches and Planned Obsolescence

I have a first gen Moto 360. I love it, I wear it everyday and I feel naked without it. My phone stays in my pocket most of the time and I get at least a full day of battery life. I see no reason to get a Moto 360 2, especially at their current price point. I’ve got a lot better ways to spend $299, more like $350 for the one I would want. However, it turns out Android Wear 2 isn’t coming to the Moto 360. Not for any technical reason that I can discern, but just because they don’t support hardware that old. Which seems a bit ridiculous because there’s only one newer generation, but in the world of technology companies it’s been two years and it’s time for us dinosaurs to either upgrade or live with what we’ve got. Not a hard decision for me, I’ll stick with what I’ve got.

A few years ago I would have been chomping at the bit for a new watch, the Moto 360 2 is smaller, has better battery life, it’s faster and it’s getting the latest version of the OS. I mean, for a tech geek what more could you want? As it turns out, me. I’ll get almost no benefits out of a new watch except for a smaller size, which isn’t an issue for me I actually kind of like the size of my 360, and a newer OS with some nice features. So really, the OS is what I’m missing out on, which sucks, but I’ll deal because my Moto 360 does everything I need it to do.

Companies like Motorola need people to buy new and better hardware, they need planned obsolescence. They need to know that they can leave my watch behind with a big software improvement so they can get me to spend more money. Especially in a smart watch market that’s small and isn’t seeing a lot of innovation. The problem is, even the software improvements aren’t impressive enough to make me really interested. Planned obsolescence only works if you can give people a really good reason to replace the existing hardware, and since the Moto 360 is built well and hasn’t caused me any issues, they’re really out of luck. Even Apple is struggling to WOW in the smart watch arena.

I’m not bitter about not getting Android Wear 2, I’m a little disappointed but that’s about it. Smart watch makers need to do something to impress me before I’m eager for a new watch. I’ve had my Moto 360 for right at a year now and people still gape at it when they realize what it is. The first thing people as me about my smart watch is, “What do you do with it?”. That signals a serious problem with the entire concept. Smart watches aren’t catching on, in fact take a look around, a lot of people don’t wear any type of watch any more. I hadn’t worn a watch in years when I got my Moto 360, my phone had replaced it. So, while I’m not bitter, this does seem like a stupid and futile way to try to make my Moto 360 obsolete so you can get someone to buy a newer watch.

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