In sharing its thoughts about the design of apps for upcoming Android Wear smartwatches, Google intentionally showed off the first two such devices. What it may not have intended to do, however, was cause some excited early adopters to suddenly have doubts and reservations, particularly with regard to Motorola’s round Moto 360 timepiece.
Granted, the design of the LG G Watch and the Motorola Moto 360, both of which where displayed prominently and repeatedly in the blog post, have long been known since Google first announced Android Wear. However, most of these have been renderings, prototypes or dummy models which don’t really reveal the intended actual device. This is probably the first time that a working version has been shown to the public. With the expected announcement at Google I/O close at hand, this could also very well be the final version, though some will probably hope not.
While the G Watch looked almost plain and nondescript, just as it has been teased and hinted by LG itself, the Moto 360, on the other hand, was head-turning, and not in a good way. Not only is the watch face round, it is also huge. Those who have ridiculed the first Samsung Galaxy Gear might want to take a look at this upcoming model as well. Granted, it affords more screen space for more information and better finger interaction, but it might also end up being uncomfortable and too conspicuous to wear. This could still change, however, and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed.
The point, however, of Google’s blog post isn’t that the Moto 360 is huge, but that designing notifications that are both beautiful yet sufficient for such a small screen real estate isn’t going to be a walk in the park. But it is both a constraint, a guideline, and a challenge that designers will and must face if Google’s vision for Android Wear, at least on smartwatches, is to ever be taken seriously. Of course, it will probably help if the device itself won’t look like a big, pun unintended, joke.