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The Download: The Creative Opportunities of Designing for a Round Watch

One of the things that excites us about round watches is not only the iconic, beautiful design. It’s also unleashed cool, new opportunities for software development and new experiences. So for today’s Download, our regular spotlight on software, we wanted to get a little deeper into the benefits of designing for round watches.

Though for decades designers have created software experiences for squares and rectangles (LCD monitors, mobile phones, tablets, and even TVs, to name a few), a round watch provides a new canvas. Rick Hoobler, a user interface designer for Moto 360, and I have talked about how it provides fresh experiences in a few ways:

  • A smooth, sweeping experience for your eye. Rectangular form factors typically require left alignment to look good according to traditional design principles. But circular screens create a smooth, race-track like behavior that is soothing to the eye. There is no starting or stopping point. It’s fluid and elegant.
  • It’s a delight to experience new technology in a classic form factor. The blend of old and new create a deeply satisfying aesthetic. The classic round shape meets brand new technology to create a design duality that feels original without trying too hard. Tableware, plates, glasses, handles—these are all classic round shapes. When we bring this to the watch, you can see things like someone’s photo that fills up the beautiful, locket-like round shape or maps with solid fields of color in a round compass shape.
  • The circle is a natural shape for tracking progress. From a design perspective, it is a very compelling experience for users to be able to use sleek progress meters that track all around the edge. You can see all-day progress, instead of a tiny standard-looking chart. The heart rate monitor, for instance, easily curves in a circular shape to show how fast your heart is beating.

Hear Rick share more about what it’s like creating experiences in a round space, instead of a square one.

What else is new in software this week?

  • Hot off the presses is an update to Motorola Camera that brings you a remote shutter for Android Wear watches, so you can trigger a shot from your wrist. It also brings numerous performance improvements and bug fixes across Motorola products. We’ve now had over 1 billion shots captured by Moto G users and will continue to bring improvements to our customers!
  • Motorola Assist was updated with important bug fixes for Talk to Me and Drive Mode. FM Radio has been updated on Moto E and Moto G to provide lockscreen controls and to support playback to Bluetooth speakers.
  • Motorola Connect and the Motorola Connect Chrome extension have been updated to improve stability and support emoji (Chrome extension).

Hope you enjoy. Let us know what you think.

Posted by Lior Ron, Product

The Download: Bringing Home and Drive Modes to Moto G and Moto E

We don’t know about you, but last week was a whirlwind of excitement as we shared five new products with the world. With all the activity, in this week’s Download, we wanted to highlight something for Moto G and Moto E users, so that you don’t miss it: You can now use many of the Motorola Assist features on your Moto G (1st and 2nd generations) and Moto E!

When we launched Moto X, we introduced simple but useful experiences based on the different places and situations we find ourselves in. Driving was the natural place to start. To make it happen, we used a low-power sensor hub in Moto X that constantly analyzes inputs from sensors like the accelerometer, GPS, and audio. We eventually expanded these features to Meeting mode (when you don’t want to be bothered and want an automatic message for those who are trying to get in touch), Sleep mode (letting you sleep in peace with only the people who matter getting through), and Home mode (so that your phone automatically knows when it’s home and can stay unlocked).

When we launched Moto G and Moto E, however, we thought that without the low-power sensor hub in Moto X, these types of experiences would likely not be possible. The phones had fewer microphones for speech recognition and a smaller processor. We couldn’t do it the same way.

But when Drive mode and Home mode became some of the most popularly requested updates for Moto G and Moto E, we decided to revisit. 

Challenging our own assumptions, we decided to try to create the same experiences but in a different way, relying on algorithms running on fewer microphones and no sensor hub. The team spent three months creating prototypes and writing algorithms and models that could possibly create contextual experiences for Moto G and Moto E. When the test results came back, we were optimistic. The team then spent another two months tweaking and refining the application so it could hit our quality benchmarks. We are so happy that an alternative approach could provide this requested experience to our users!

Again, we're so glad to be able to share this feature with our users. Tell us what you think. We look forward to keep working on making it better and better. 

Posted by Mark Rose, Product Management

The Download: GOAL! Behind the Scenes of Our New Soccer Startup Animation

At Motorola, we are here to bring people together by connecting them to each other wherever they are. And for one summer every four years, the world comes together for the game of soccer (football, for some)—and what better reason to celebrate?

So when you’re not busy at home watching soccer (perhaps even using our new home mode in Motorola Assist, which we launched last week), check out our new soccer startup animation, which we rolled out Tuesday to Moto X, Moto G, and Moto E globally.

We wanted users everywhere to connect with our animation, so we decided to spotlight the different types of fields where people can play soccer across the world. After all, unlike other sports, you don’t need specific wood courts or tennis stadiums or 100 yards of grass. You just need yourself, a ball, and a wide open space, whether grass, concrete, asphalt, or packed dirt.

Taking our users to the various soccer fields—from dirt lots, to school practice fields, to concrete back alleys, to official turf in Brazil—meant creating four different globes in addition to the ball in a 3D computer environment—which we manually rotated to capture the finished story.

And thus our final animation was born:

The animation started rolling out Tuesday, but if you haven’t received it yet on your Moto X, Moto G, or Moto E, be sure to download the latest Motorola Boot Services and restart your phone. We hope you like it.

Posted by Meet Jariwala, Motorola Boot Services Product Manager

The Download: 48 App Updates and Counting — New Gallery, Assist, Camera, and More.

It’s only been seven months since Moto X launched, and ever since then our team has pushed hard to execute on a strategy of releasing apps quickly and then iterating nimbly. This was our strategy from the beginning, and we hope our fans are feeling the benefit across all our products. With our Camera update today, we mark 48 updates since that August launch!

But that’s only one of the updates that we’ve turned out the past two weeks. And fear not, there is still more to come.

Here’s the latest Download.

Press to Snap - We designed the Camera app to help people take pictures more quickly and more naturally. That’s why you can easily snap a photo by touching anywhere on the screen and on Moto X you can launch your camera with two twists of your wrist. For those that prefer the click of a physical button, though, this new update lets you take a picture by just pressing the volume button on your Moto X, Moto G, or Droid Ultra.

Scroll Down Memory Lane - Our new Motorola Gallery update brings a new way to browse through your photos in the timeline, making it easy to navigate galleries large and small. Just swipe though each event to see your photos. This, along with other changes, streamlines our interface across the app. The result is a more beautiful and more elegant gallery, and you’re able to see more of your own photos and videos wherever you look.

Get It Together with Assist - Motorola Assist helps you out when you’re busy—reading messages aloud while you’re driving, helping you sleep in peace, and more. The app’s meeting mode, in particular, knows when you’re busy based on your calendar and silences calls when you don’t want to be bothered. With this new update to Assist, you can choose what calendars you want to use with meeting mode. So if it’s OK to be interrupted during your workout schedule but not OK to be interrupted during meetings and family time—you can make the choice.

Get Help in One Place - New to Google Play is our Help app, formerly called Moto Care. With Motorola Help, you can learn all about your phone in one place and get easy access to real people at Motorola Customer Care when you need to. Pro tip: When you register your phone at http://www.motorola.com/support, you can get personalized tips and protect your phone if lost.

Enhanced Active Display - We’ve squashed some bugs! Motorola Active Display now runs more smoothly.

It’s still early in the year. We have a lot to do! We hope you like this set of updates. Please let us know what you think of our latest on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

Posted by Punit Soni, Product Management
Android, Motorola

The Download: New Touchless Control Command, Selective Migrate, Smart SIMs, and More.

We’ve got a bunch of new updates to share with you all. We’re keeping the momentum going this week with a swath of new enhancements that both tighten up the backend and bring some new goodies to the user experience.

Here’s the latest Download:

What’s Up with Touchless Control - Hands tied? Our latest update to Touchless Control introduces a new convenient command: Just say “OK Google Now, What’s up?”—your phone will read aloud your latest notifications. 

Migrate What You Want - Our Motorola Migrate app has been a hit for users transferring their information from their old phone to their new Moto X, Moto G, or Droid phones. But we heard from some people that it would be even more useful if they could select what content to transfer. With this update, we’ve made this possible for users moving from an old Android phone to choose what kind of content they want to migrate. This update also automatically imports SIM contacts to your preferred Google account and makes it easier to transfer the content you want if your old phone’s content is bigger than your new phone’s available memory (nothing like a little early Spring cleaning!).

Getting Smart with SIMs - Here’s a little treat for users in Latin America and India who have Moto G that supports dual SIMs: With the latest KitKat upgrade, we’ve included a new feature called Automatic SIM Selection. If you typically select the SIM for every outgoing call, this feature will suggest the preferred SIM to use based on the one that you’ve used to call friends in the past. Moto G users with dual SIMs can simply switch the feature on in their Settings. For more information, check out the FAQs.

Customize Your Active Display - Active Display quietly displays what you need to know with just a touch—and with this update you can now enable and disable notification vibrations using your phone’s Sound settings. Also, did you know that you can control which apps send notifications to Active Display? Just go to Settings > Active Display to choose what apps are important enough to you.

An Enhanced Assist - Motorola Assist—which recognizes when you shouldn’t be bothered and helps you out while you’re driving—now works even smarter to adapt to your working style in meetings. This update allows you to block off personal time in your calendar but still take calls. We’ve also made an important enhancements in Bluetooth connectivity that allow even more users to integrate Assist with their car’s built-in Bluetooth carkit.

We’re continuing to sprint after these evolutions, quickly innovating on both user-facing experience and backend technologies. Please let us know what you think of our latest on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

Posted by Punit Soni, Product Management
Android, Motorola

The Download: Voice Texts, Zap and More Kernels

It’s a New Year and the Motorola software team's 2014 resolution is to continue to rapidly deliver delightful software experiences to our users. Over the holidays, we’ve been working on a number of software enhancements that we hope will help start your year off right.

Here’s the latest Download:

Your Personal Text Messaging Assistant - Love getting text messages read aloud to you while driving? Now you can reply back—completely hands-free using just your voice with Motorola Assist.

As part of this update, we’ve also enhanced Motorola Contextual Services, the key magic behind some of our Motorola applications. It provides the secret sauce behind activity detection in Assist and optimizes Touchless Control. This latest update helps make drive mode detection faster and more accurate using Bluetooth for Assist.

Zap Your Photos and Videos - This app is a really fun way to share stuff with friends near you. Droid Zap uses your phone’s GPS/WiFi functionality to send photos and videos with a simple gesture. This latest update gives a sleek, new look to the app and offers support for KitKat. Available on DROID Ultra, DROID MAXX, and DROID Mini.

KitKat Breaks into Europe - The KitKat goodness continues to roll out at a furious pace! Last week we began rolling out Android, KitKat 4.4.2 to carriers and regions in Europe. Check the software updates release page for the latest on your device.

Kernel Sources for Moto G - For our developer friends, we’ve released the Kernel Sources for Android, KitKat 4.4.2 on Moto G. Download the kernels here. Knock yourselves out!

We think 2014 is going to be a great year. We’re here, we’re listening, and we’re making your Motorola phones better all the time. We're committed to bringing you many more software innovations over this next year. Want to tell us something? Feel free to comment on our profiles on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

Posted by Punit Soni, Product Management