The budget-friendly $99 Motorola Moto Watch 100 comes with its own proprietary OS

Motorola’s latest smartwatch is called Moto Watch 100. The $99 device comes with a 1.3-inch circular LCD display, SpO2, built-in GPS and two weeks battery life. Rather than wear OS it runs on an all-new Moto Watch OS.

The company has notably been absent from the wearable tech space for the past few of years. In 2017 Motorola announced is will cease releasing smartwatches. They cited slow sales as the reason for the decision. Having said that, we did see the third generation Moto 360 in 2019. But that one was released by Canadian-based firm eBuyNow.

Early this year we got our first hint Motorola is rethinking its strategy. A presentation by Canadian-based CE Brands Inc (which owns eBuyNow), revealed that a number of products will be released in 2021. This includes smart lightning systems, air purifiers and an intelligent camera. More interestingly for us, amongst upcoming products were three smartwatches – Moto G Smartwatch, Moto Watch and Moto Watch One. The trio was scheduled to land in June and July.

However, nothing came of that. June and July arrived – with no new Motorola-branded smartwatches on the horizon.


The Moto Watch 100 – this is Motorola’s new smartwatch

On October 21st, CE Brands Inc released its Operation and Financial Update. This is an updated version of the presentation from the start of the year. It shed some light on why we didn’t see the watches during the summer.

In the document the company mentions “logistical challenges” and that they’ve “launched a series of initiatives to stabilize” the business “including supply-chain improvements”. All of this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on silicon chip manufacturing and production lines in Asia, along with energy shortages in the region.

Amongst upcoming products, the paper mentions Motorola entry-level smartwatches as well as mid-level smartwatches (two new models). Of these, the first to launch is the Moto Watch 100 – referred to as the “Moto G” earlier this year. This one is scheduled to begin mass production in November 2021 which means sales are starting in early December. Pre-orders are open now on motowatch.com.

The timepiece has a circular body and two physical buttons on the right. You could say that it very much resembles the Moto 360.

This is an entry-level device as indicated by its $99 price-tag. But for that, you do get quite a bit.

Starting with design, Moto Watch 100 comes with a matte finish and two buttons on the side with a metallic finish. No rotating bezel on this one in case Samsung fans were wondering. The build of the 42 x 46 x 11.9 mm watch case is aluminium with a plastic backplate. Moto Watch 100 weighs a mere 45.8 grams and the quick release band is 20mm in width.

The device is fairly decent looking. The body packs a sunken 1.3 inch LCD display (360×360 pixels resolution). In addition to heart rate, the list of sensors consists of an accelerometer, gyroscope, SpO2, Bluetooth 5.0 and ambient light. There’s also built in GPS / GLONASS / BeiDou. Everything is rated for 5 ATM water-resistance.

Unlike its predecessors, Moto Watch 100 does not run Google’s Wear OS. Instead it has something called Moto Watch OS. This is a health and fitness focussed operating system that is compatible with Android 5.0+. But don’t mistake this for a Wear OS watch.

There are some positives in this. The main one is that the watch runs much longer than typical WearOS devices. The 355 mAh battery can keep going for 2 weeks between charges. Presumably that’s with the always-on display functionality switched off. One hour on the charger is all it takes to go from zero to full.

The specs are decent enough but there’s nothing really groundbreaking here. We’ve seen it all many times before. Motorola looks to be targeting the budget device segment with something that has a premium feel about it.

The CE Brands roadmap reveals that Moto Watch 100 will be followed by the Moto Watch 200 and Moto Watch 100S. These will be released in Q1 2022 as mid-level products. They are most likely the ones that were referred to as Moto Watch and Moto Watch One in the presentation earlier this year. The first comes with a square body, the second is another circular timepiece.

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