Friday, September 12, 2014

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 read your texts and callers aloud).

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

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