The original Motorola Moto 360 was one of the few good Wear OS (then Android Wear) smartwatches. At least, it was until Motorola quit the smartwatch game in 2016. It got a remake in 2019 under a different company, and two years later, eBuyNow just announced the Moto Watch 100, a cheaper, entry-level smartwatch. And for the first time, it will not run Wear OS.
Instead, the new Moto Watch 100 features a proprietary software called Moto OS. This is a major departure from the Moto watches we’ve seen until now. That means it’ll be following in the footsteps of recent watches like the Huawei Watch 3, the OnePlus Watch, and every Fitbit smartwatch since the Ionic launched in 2017.
There are some clues in the Moto Watch 100 press release as to why. eBuyNow — a CE Brands subsidiary and Motorola’s “strategic brand partner” — says the Moto Watch 100 is aimed at first-time smartwatch users and will offer a “streamlined experience” for health and wellness. That, and on the product website, it says Moto OS “dramatically increases battery life.” eBuyNow claims the Moto Watch 100 will get 14 days on a single charge and has built-in GPS, continuous heart rate monitoring, and SpO2 sensors for measuring blood oxygen levels. Currently, there isn’t a Wear OS watch on the market that can do all that and last more than two days.
On paper, the Moto Watch 100 offers an impressive spec sheet for a $99.99 smartwatch. In addition to its health features, it’s swim-proof with 5ATM of water resistance, supports quick charging, and has a 1.3-inch LCD display. But there’s one thing Moto OS won’t have: third-party apps.
That’s not always a deal-breaker. Fitbit’s gotten by on FitbitOS for years now and only has a handful of apps like Pandora, Starbucks, and Spotify. It also has an open SDK that lets developers create their own clock faces and apps to make up for the lack of choices in the Fitbit App Gallery. However, Fitbit is a major player in this space and other attempts have been less fortunate. The Huawei Watch 3, for example, had great hardware but HarmonyOS was limited to Huawei apps that weren’t all that useful. Meanwhile, OnePlus also tried to prioritize battery life at the expense of literally everything else. It did not pay off. The OnePlus Watch was buggy to the point of being unusable when it launched in April. Two weeks of battery life wasn’t enough to make up for the OnePlus Watch’s glitchy software.
Essentially, the Moto Watch 100 is taking a calculated risk. WearOS 2 is on its way out, but it’ll be several months before Wear OS 3 arrives. Launching a new Wear OS watch right now won’t endear the company to anyone who isn’t familiar with its quirks. You only have to look as far as Fossil’s Gen 6 to see why. Whether this gamble pays off will entirely depend on Moto OS delivering a good-enough fitness tracking experience to make up for the lack of other smart features.
The $99.99 Moto Watch 100 will be available for preorder in the US and Canada and comes in both black and silver. It’s also compatible with both iOS and Android, but iOS users will have to wait until December for the Moto iOS app.