The Moto 360 was released after a long period of anticipation, however some people were disappointed with a few of the aspects of the device, namely, performance and battery life. The last point is particularly important, seeing as it’s a portable device made to wear on your wrist that should ideally last you through the day. However, after release, users began to report that the battery life could barely be used to make it through the day, especially if you had all the bells and whistles enabled. Thankfully, this last software update seems to have made things significantly better, and users are reporting much improved battery life, alongside some fixes and smoother performance. Some, let’s take a look and see what it means for other Android Wear devices!
A software update that brings improved battery life is great news, but what about some numbers? We all have the impression that things seem faster and smoother after an update, however, many times that is simply a placebo effect that very soon wears out. Well, in this case, the numbers do show a reliable increase in battery life. Most tests show a jump from the 10-12 hour mark to a whopping 13-15 hours. This may seem like a small number, but it should be noted that it’s the number with Ambient Mode enabled. For those that don’t know, the Moto 360 supports a feature called “Ambient Mode”, which basically acts like an always-on mode for the display: it uses a sensor to detect when the user is looking at the watch, and brings the display up to ideal brightness. It also always keeps the display on, albeit in a very dimmed state. Well, for this feature to work, it requires an always-on light sensor in conjunction with the display always turned on, and that takes a heavy toll on the battery life. Without Ambient Mode enabled, however, users have been reporting a comfortable 45-50 hours of battery life, which is a remarkable improvement from the previous figures, where most users would reach the end of the day and find their Moto 360 asking to be charged.
Alongside the battery life improvements, the updates also brings new functionality to the built-in alarm functionality using voice, features new functionality for the Maps Wear app and fixes a few issues with Bluetooth connectivity. This update, curiously, seems to update Android Wear itself, rather than the device’s specific software. This seems strange, because the extrapolation from that is obviously that the update could also be extended to other Android Wear devices and squeeze a few more hours out of the battery for devices like the Samsung Gear or the LG G Watch, which is something its owners would definitely appreciate at this point. However, it’s also possible that the software update fixes quirks related directly to the unique hardware of the Moto 360, which carries a different SoC that the other devices. If this is the case, even when the other devices do get this update, it’s possible that things remain mostly the same.
One aspects worth mentioning is that due to the way Android Wear works, the update should be universal. This means that, unlike the mess that is individually updating every Android device, Android Wear instead follows the iOS model and one update fits all. All the Android Wear devices will be getting the update directly from Google and should receive it at pretty much the same time (Google likes to slowly roll out updates over individual regions rather than at all regions at once, in order to catch bugs early and reduce the stress on the update servers). However, if your Android Wear device did not get an update already, don’t worry, as it should already be on its way.