Motorola said earlier this year that it would sit out the rest of 2016 (along with LG and Huawei), but there's more bad news to the story. Motorola now says that it is exiting the smartwatch market. Motorola's Global Product Development head Shakil Barkat said today that the long-standing company won't be following the year-after-year approach to wearables, that it doesn't "see enough pull in the market to put [a new smartwatch] out at this time. Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year. We believe the wrist has value and there will be a point where they provide value to consumers more than they do today," Barkat told The Verge in an exclusive interview.
What should be gleaned from this is that Motorola intends to re-enter the smartwatch market once it believes that there's more direction for smartwatches than what exists currently, but again, there's an indefinite time between now and Motorola's return.
The Moto 360 Sport, Motorola's ruggedized smartwatch, was removed from the Google Store earlier this Spring due to its lack of sales, and the Motorola Moto 360 Second Edition was more of the same as the first edition (with a higher price tag, of course), showing that Motorola really produced smartwatches for the sake of Google rather than having its own direction for its wrist wearable. The second edition Moto 360 has had modest sales, as more consumers flock to the first-generation wearable because of cost consciousness.
Motorola could've released its wearable with a more modest price tag to attract consumers, seeing that price is of great importance to consumers. Still, though, Motorola doesn't seem to believe price is what has held back sales of its latest smartwatch, either.
Motorola is exiting the smartwatch market for now, but LG intends to stay (having trademarked four new smartwatch names and a smartwatch mobile payment system this week). Huawei has sat out this portion of the year and is interested in moving away from Android Wear to Samsung's Tizen OS, and HTC's fabled smartwatch that we've seen in photos has yet to surface.
In short, Motorola's exiting the smartwatch market isn't a good sign for Android Wear. With Google's upcoming Pixel smartwatches on the horizon, it seems as though Android Wear, once a partnership of many, will soon become a platform of one (Google).