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Motorola eyes a future for foldable smartwatches

We spoke to the General Manager of Product Innovation at Motorola to understand what the company thinks about the future of wearables, here’s what we found out.

During an interview with Trusted Reviews, Jeff Snow, the General Manager of Product Innovation argued smartwatches’ current form factor isn’t optimal for most users.

“You know, today, you look at watches, and they’re, they’re all basically just typical watch forum, you know, fairly small screen,” he said.

“Now, they’re useful, because you don’t have to rely on your phone for notifications and that sort of thing, but that their utility kind of stops at, you know, seeing notifications, because you can’t really respond very well. And voice isn’t really something that people are comfortable using in a public setting. And obviously, the screens too small for a keyboard.”

The Apple Watch Series 7 was the first Apple Watch to introduce a full QWERTY keyboard, since the display was finally big enough. However, we still noted that it was very fiddly and not often utilised, which shows that there is still room for improvement when looking at keyboards on wearables.

Google Wear smartwatches also have keyboard apps that you can download, however, they will likely still suffer from the same issues regarding the small screen.

Snow went on to mention that Motorola was looking at ways to innovate wearables that would help solve customer needs in the 312 Motorola Labs, which opened last month in Chicago.

“And to try to improve upon that with something that’s been being done for the first time, like a new wearable type of, you know, wrapping screen type of thing we would want to understand,” said Snow.

“So, I think there’s certainly room for adapting foldable screens into something that can be worn on your wrist that’s present with you, without having to reach into your pocket and giving the user a little bit more screen area to be able to interact with. So that’s certainly a space that I think is possible for innovation,” Snow concluded.

Folding screens are a vogue item in the world of tech at the moment. Samsung kicked off the trend with its first generation Galaxy Fold. Since then numerous other firms including Oppo, Huawei, Xiaomi and Honor have started utilising the technology.

Trusted Take

Smartwatches have only been around for about a decade, and so far we haven’t seen a lot of innovation in terms of their design. Looking at the most popular wearables of today, like the Apple Watch or Fitbit, the main focus of the product is usually its ability to accurately record your fitness levels and overall health, with less emphasis put on accessibility.

The latest improvements in terms of accessibility would be voice control, seen most recently in the new Garmin Venu 2 Plus smartwatch, which allows you to take calls directly from your wrist.

In terms of developing a new design, I’m excited to see what Motorola can come up with and if it can create something that makes these small wearables easier to use and interact with, and since folding phones are becoming more popular, it would be interesting to see a foldable smartwatch.

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