Cognac (brown) Horween leather band also about to debut @ $249

At the launch of the Moto 360 smartwatch in September, Motorola Mobility had promised metal bands for later in the fall.  It now appears those designs may be landing in the next week, just in time for holiday shopping., Inc. (AMZN) briefly posted -- then pulled -- a listing for a new edition of the Moto 360 smartwatch from Motorola Mobility.  The crisp look of the "champagne gold" metal Moto 360 will set you back $299 USD (a $50 USD premium over the leather band model), but that includes the band and you get your choice of an 18 mm or thicker 23 mm classic watch-link style band.  

Moto 360 new bands

The changes are only superficial; the new watch's hardware remains the same.

Moto 360 gold 
The smartwatch is now officially a product of China's Lenovo Group, Ltd. (HKG:0992), after its $2.91B USD purchase of Motorola Mobility from Google Inc. (GOOG) received final regulatory approvals and completed this week.

Additionally, the Moto 360 will be rolling out a fourth shade of Horween leather band, "cognac".
Moto 360

The new shaded joins the "gray", "stone", and "black" leather bands.  The black version has a matching darkened stainless steel body, while the rest -- cognac included -- have a lighter silver stainless steel body.  Like the other leather band options it will be priced at $249 USD.

The smartwatch is powered by Google's Android Wear, which the mobile giant has been working on tuning to perfection.  The watch acts as a notification second screen for texts, Facebook, Inc. (FB) alerts/messages, and other essentials.  When not displaying notifications it falls back into "Ambient Mode", which displays custom watch faces.  Users have the ability to create their own custom watch fronts.

Hardware-wise it packs a 1.56-inch 320x290 display (205 dpi) covered in Gorilla Glass 3.  The display is packaged in a rather unique cylinder shell with a metal body, eschewing the rectangular face prefered by most competitors.  Under the hood it packs 4GB of internal storage, 512 MB DRAM.  For workouts it packs a pedometer and heart rate monitor.  And don't worry about it getting splashed or soaked in a rain shower; it claims IP67-rated water resistance. 

One concern has been the tiny 320 mAh battery, and a wireless charging stand.  Initially this provided a puny 10 to 12 hour battery life in "Ambient Mode".  Fortunately, the problem appears to have been partially firmware-related.  An update from Motorola Mobility has tweaked the firmware and it's now providing 13 to 15 hours of battery life in Ambient Mode -- enough for a full day of activity on a charge, typically.

The Moto 360 is among the most buzzed about smartwatches, due to its clean and unique sense of style.  It's expect to get fierce competition in early 2015 from Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) $349 Apple Watch.  Apple -- a fan itself of gold designs -- will be offering two gold body options: the 18K rose gold and 18K yellow gold.  Both bodies are available in the pricier Apple Watch Edition SKU.

Apple Watch gold options
Apple Watch comes with two gold body options, but no gold band option (yet). [Image Source: Apple]

Strangely Apple has not announced a gold metal band, though.  It suggests pairing the gold faces with a "Modern Buckle" leather band instead. The only metal band promised by Apple is does offer three non-gold metal band options -- a silver "Milanese Loop" band, plus "Space Black" and silver stainless steel bands.  A concern about the Apple Watch is battery life; Apple has shared precious few details of how it plans to deal with this reoccuring headache in the form factor.

Sources: Amazon [cached, 23 mm champagne gold], [cached, 18 mm champagne gold], [cached, Cognac Horween leather], via The Verge

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