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Moto 360 battery life given a boost by Android Wear update

Motorola Moto 360 teaser

New notification behaviour lets you put the circular watchface on display without dismissing all your messages too

Google and Motorola have begun rolling out the latest Android Wear update to Moto 360 smartwatch owners, bringing the version number up to 4.4W.2 and adding a whole host of improvements, including a very welcome boost to battery life.

Confirming the release on the official Motorola blog, director of product marketing Lally Narwal explained what customers can expect from the latest update, beyond the usual collection of bugfixes and behind-the-scenes tweaks. The biggest change is a new Smart Battery Saving feature, which will turn off ambient mode automatically when battery life dips below 15%. Ambient mode leaves the circular display on all the time, with the backlight set to its lowest intensity, even when you aren’t using it, but this has a negative effect on battery life; with the new addition, you shouldn’t be able to drain the watch completely if you choose to enable Ambient mode.

Other additions include more frequent time checks, where the watch synchronises the time displayed on your wrist with the time shown on your phone to make sure they are correctly matched, mood lighting adjustments based on the brightness of a room when charging, so the screen isn’t too bright or too dark, and some “under-the-hood enhancements” that prepare the watch for connecting directly to a Bluetooth headset – which will let you take it out for a run and listen to music without having to bring your phone along too.

Finally, a new gesture lets you see the full watch face without permenantly dismissing a displayed notification. Touching a notification and swiping down will hide it from the main screen, but it will still be in the list of notifications when you scroll through the stack of currently active cards. We’re pleased to see Motorola responding to customer feedback, as we felt having to dismiss every notification just to reveal the gorgeous circular watchface was cointerintuitive for a ‘smart’ wearable.

Motorola will be rolling out the update in phases, so you may not get a notification for a while yet, but when it arrives a card should appear on the watch face leting you know it’s time to install. To load it, the watch will need at least 80% battery and the connected smartphone will need an internet connection.

Have you got a Moto 360? Let us know if the update has improved battery life in the comments below

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