Bit by bit, the Moto 360 continues to get better

moto360 5
Credit: Jared Newman

Motorola is making some adjustments to its Moto 360 smartwatch as a wave of new competitors come crashing ashore.

The latest software update addresses a couple of key complaints with Motorola's watch while making a few other pleasant improvements. Here's a rundown of the changes:

  • To ensure that the Moto 360 lasts through the day, ambient mode will turn off automatically when the battery hits 15 percent. With ambient mode enabled, the screen stays on in a low-power state even when it's not in active use. It's helpful for glancing at the time and notifications without twisting your wrist, but it consumers much more battery.
  • The Moto 360's clock will synchronize with a paired phone more often, hopefully eliminating issues with the wrong time being displayed.
  • When users get a notification, they'll be able to touch the top of it and swipe down to bring the full clock back into view. Notifications will stay hidden until another high-priority one comes in.
  • While charging, the brightness of the Moto 360's clock mode will adjust automatically based on the lighting of the room.
  • The watch will also get various bug fixes, along with some under-the-hood changes in preparation for offline music playback in Android Wear.

Motorola says the new software will roll out in phases, and users will get an update on the watch when it's ready to install. The watch will need to be paired with a phone and at 80 percent battery to start the update.

Why this matters: The Moto 360 was in rough shape when it arrived, with weak battery life and various other software frustrations marring an otherwise interesting smartwatch. Between these new tweaks and a recent battery-improving update, Motorola's proving the Moto 360 is still a very real product that's continuing to evolve—and it's evolving into something well-equipped to take on new Android Wear watches from LGSony and Asus.

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