Google’s Motorola division has begun selling its highly anticipated circular smartwatch, the Moto 360.
The firm said it believed the model offered a stylish design after what it suggested had been a series of unappealing wearable tech launches by its rivals.
The release of the watch comes at a time of transition for the business.
Sales of Motorola’s smartphones are on the rebound and the business as a whole is about to switch ownership to Lenovo.
But while analysts have been generally positive about the look of the new timepiece, they expressed doubts about its potential to become a bestseller.
Motorola also unveiled new smartphones and a small Bluetooth earbud designed to allow owners to interact with their handset by voice.
‘Stylish and smart’
The Moto 360 features a 1.5in (3.8cm) LCD touchscreen encircled by a thin metal band.
The waterproof device is powered by Google’s new Android Wear operating system – which is designed for small screens – and also features a built-in heart rate monitor and pedometer step counter, but no proprietary sleep monitoring software.
It only lasts about a day between charges. The version already on sale in the US has leather straps, and versions with metal bands will follow. The watch will be released in the UK in October.
The firm’s president, Rick Osterloh, suggested it was a clear improvement on competitors’ earlier models.
“I think the first watches that shipped have been really bad,” he said.
“A number of manufacturers were willing to ship products that I felt were not appropriate for consumers.
“The biggest problem consumers said they had with them was that they really didn’t look appealing.
“The difference in our initial approach has been to focus on that problem and solve it.”
He added that he welcomed the prospect of Apple entering the sector, potentially as soon as next week.
“I think Apple is going to help grow the category,” he said.
“Perhaps the most difficult thing in any new technology category is having people understand the benefits of it.
“It’s quite concerning to me that in the early days some of the first watches maybe gave the category a bad edge. We believe our product will be on the new wave of offerings.”