Motorola X8 system detailed: 'secret sauce' are not ARM cores
The Motorola X8 is more than just a processor, more than just a system-on-a-chip. While the system is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, it also features completely independent cores that make possible features like the phone always listening to your wake up command.
The big goal with the Moto X and new Motorolas in general was to transition from CPU architectures to a new type of "intelligent, probabilistic computing." This is achieved via two key additional cores.
Those additional elements are a "contextual computing processor" and a "natural language processor." These two unique elements - turns out - are not ARM cores. It remains a mystery who manufactured them, though.
"It's done by Motorola, a lot of design in the entire system," Motorola senior VP of engineering Iqbal Arshad said. "The actual silicon is specified by us but we don't go ahead and design and fab it. It's not an ARM processor, it's a very low-power separate processor," he said.
The contextual computing core takes care of the sensors, display and touch interaction, but it is also used to make the device extremely battery efficient - it kicks in standby mode as well.
The natural language processor on the other hand handles audio, noise estimation and noise cancellation. This means the company does not rely on third parties like Audience for noise cancellation.
"If we did not have the contextual computing processor and our natural langauge processor in place, we would need two additional batteries," he added.
The X8 has a 50% better performance in gaming battery benchmarks.
"We invented mobile. We have  years of DSP expertise, That is all Motorola's unique technology," he proudly said.
The X8 consists of a 28nm Snapdragon S4 Pro clocked at 1.7GHz. The additional elements however that make the X8 an ‘X8’ can work with different processors as well.
"We can with with any Qualcomm processor. We can work with anybody's CPU. That's the beauty of it; all of our technology and experiences are decoupled from the legacy CPU processor," he said.
2. nobelset (Posts: 268; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)
"we invented mobile" that gave me goose bumps xD
20. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)
Gave me chills when I stopped to think how many companies could have purchased Motorola before Google had the chance.
24. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
I like the idea of a US company owning Motorola. The only other company I could have accepted taking over Motorola is Qualcomm.
30. lyndon420 (Posts: 1687; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)
The best company bought them and that's all that matters.
4. Cha7520 (Posts: 208; Member since: 31 Oct 2010)
I'm wanting a good unlocked phone, so I'm hoping the Moto X is worth all the hype. I'm just hoping the 2,200 battery is good enough for the "always listening" operation.
8. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1090; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
motorola brand is getting less and less...
9. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
hmm..if they deliver it will be a heel of an interesting device. At last, a fresh approach to a cpu usage. End of how-many-cores-can-I-put-in race and focussing on real life efficiency.
Let's get the show on the road Moto!
10. rantao333 (Posts: 193; Member since: 21 May 2013)
suppose the natural language processor which handle touch interaction will get rid of android fundamental lagginess & touch screen unresponsiveness?
if its true, then it will be a huge step forward for any android devices.
23. Shatter (Posts: 1967; Member since: 29 May 2013)
"if its true, then it will be a huge step forward for any android devices"
If it had a dedicated CPU for the screen then that would be a step above every other smartphone not just android..
11. jove39 (Posts: 1247; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
One more day...and we'll see how well x8 performs...like the idea of adding low power cores to free cpu...still can't understand why motorola say quad core GPU...while qualcomm never specified adreno 320 with number of cores!
13. dragonscourgex (Posts: 307; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)
Quad core? Every other website I seen says it's a dual core running at 1.7ghz, a quad core gpu, running at 400 mhz, a signal core language processor, and a signal core contextual processor.
2 + 4 + 1 + 1 = 8.....hints X8. You guys sure it's a quad core processor in it?
15. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
It's a typo on PA's part. There's now an X8 page at motorola.com that clearly states it is a 1.7 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro dual core CPU with an Adreno 320 quad core GPU.
It's that Adreno 320 that has me not really caring that it's "only" a dual-core CPU.
19. Shatter (Posts: 1967; Member since: 29 May 2013)
Ya at least its got that instead of Adreno 225. Maybe this phone will finally prove that phone hardware is good enough that synthetic benchmarks do not judge performance.
16. marbovo (Posts: 591; Member since: 16 May 2013)
"We invented mobile"... In these days, this kind of phrase probably would be a marketing phrase, but in this case, that is absolutely true...
21. livyatan (Posts: 656; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)
Motorola was once a major player in the microprocessing design and manufacturing.
They indeed have the know-how, and this here finally shows a bit of that
26. Berzerk000 (Posts: 3878; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
Hopefully this ends the whole 8 core power house battle these manufacturer have been going along with. Instead of more cores for power, it's more cores for efficiency, which is the way it should be at this point. Good job Moto, you really did invent mobile.
28. Shatter (Posts: 1967; Member since: 29 May 2013)
If you want a powerful device you don't buy a phone you get a Desktop. The desktop will outperform it by a crap ton in every possible way except power consumption and size.
27. amancarlos (Posts: 42; Member since: 09 May 2012)
very interesting and intelligent answer to battery consumption. I for one, am surprised that how did no one yet answer this riddle of battery efficiency.
1 core (contextual computing core) keeps running and switches on the other cores only when it is needed. hence keeping the power down.
although it remains to be seen how this would perform in real life, where the users keep switching on the phone 50 times a day, and hence failing this extensive effort.
31. Taters (Posts: 2592; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
They are missing what made the RAZR series so popular. Sexy looks with good enough performance. They should follow the Apple and HTC superficial route instead.
34. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6135; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
What I'm interested in seeing is the battery life. I could care less bout playing games on a phone.