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Motorola explains decision to retain Moto 360’s flat-tyre display

After months of speculation, the new Moto 360 smartwatches were revealed at IFA 2015 on Wednesday. As expected, the devices retain the original’s unpopular flat-tire display.

Rather than give the Android Wear watches a fully rounded display, Motorola has decided to keep what it affectionately refers to as the “shelf”.

Explaining “the right decision” during a pre-launch press event, the company’s consumer design chief Jim Wicks said that ditching the flat-tyre design would have resulted in a thicker bezel or a bigger watch.

He said (via VentureBeat): “We could move the shelf out. You’d have a round display and a thicker bezel or a bigger watch, and we don’t want to do that. We could have done that in the first one but we chose not to. We really think this 46mm diameter and the 42mm are really important.

“That shelf is hiding important sensors — the proximity sensor and other sensors; it’s also where we fold over the display, the display drivers. By doing that we can keep a very simple, very thin bezel.”

During the briefing, Wicks referred to other smartwatches, such as the LG G Watch R and Apple Watch, in order to illustrate his point with regards to the superior display to body ratio.

He added: “You see some designs that are rectangular, or have some metal coming out, which are really to cover that. We didn’t do that, for the reasons I said. We wanted to have the best fit. The most display for the body … So we decided that having the shelf was the best design decision.”

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Wicks admitted that it would be good to have the best of both worlds, but said Motorola wouldn’t be prepared to sacrifice the fit.

The new Moto 360 2 range is available in three models: the Moto 360 Fashion for men (46mm); Moto 360 version for women (42mm); and the Moto 360 Sport. It will also be possible to customise the watches using the Moto Maker tool.

“Choice matters,” Moto’s parent company said during the press event on Wednesday. The wearables are available for pre-order in the US today and will be rolled out around the world in October.

Will you be snapping up a new Moto 360 or does the “shelf” put you off? Share your thoughts below.

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