Moto 360 Android Wear timepiece receives major update, improves battery life

Motorola is known for timely updates of its Moto G and X smartphones. It looks like they are continuing this practice with the excellent Moto 360 timepiece as well.

Moto 360 Android Wear timepiece receives major update, improves battery life

The Moto 360 is a fantastic digital timepiece and it is one reason I am considering switching out my primary device from an iPhone 6 Plus to a Sony Xperia Z3 on T-Mobile. I just received a major update, 4.4W.2, that makes the Moto 360 one of the best Android Wear options available.

Motorola's blog post on the update went live on Tuesday, but my Moto 360 (check out my full review ) did not receive it until last night. It was not pushed to my device either, I had to force it to appear. By the way, if you do not yet have the update, simply go to About>System Updates and then you should see a green screen with a large check mark on it. Tap this green screen repeatedly and the download should initiate. Remember that you need at least 80 percent charge on the battery too.

According to the official Motorola blog post, the update includes:

  • Smart Battery Saving - When your battery hits 15%, your Moto 360 will turn off ambient mode, so you don’t have to remember to.
  • Timely Time Checks - Moto 360 will synchronize the time with your phone more often to make sure it is up to the minute.
  • User Interface Tweaks - We observed with consumers that there are many times where you want to use your Moto 360 as truly a classic watch—a beautiful way to see the time. A new gesture now lets you see the full watch face without permanently dismissing a notification. Just touch the top of a notification and swipe down. You’ll see the notification again when you have another high priority notification.
  • Mood Lighting - Moto 360 will adjust to the lighting of the room while charging, so that it isn’t too bright or too dark.
  • Readying the wires for Bluetooth - There are a couple of under-the-hood enhancements that will pave the way for connecting Bluetooth headsets to the watch.
  • Bug Squashing - As usual, bugs are squashed to enhance the overall user experience.

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Battery life has been fine for me with the Moto 360 going at least a day every day for the past month. Users are now reporting even better battery life and improved performance with this update.

I did have ambient screen off though so it now looks like I can turn it on and get a better experience with smart battery management. “Ambient Screen Off” is the default out of the box setting and is the preferred mode for most users. However, “Ambient On” gives you an experience that more closely models a true watch experience with a face that is visible even when you don't make the dramatic lift and twist gesture.

I don't quite understand the desire for having music stored on the watch when your phone already offers this capability. I listen to music when I run, but without GPS on the Moto 360 I can't run without my phone anyway. The new Sony Smartwatch 3 has an integrated GPS receiver so I may have to take a look at that as a replacement for my MOTOACTV.