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Android 4.4 may bring always-listening Google Now

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Android 4.4 may bring always-listening Google Now
One of the best features of the Moto X from Google-owned Motorola is the Touchless Control always-listening voice command options, and a new rumor is saying that while the Moto X was first to launch the feature, Google may be packing it into the next Android update version 4.4 KitKat. Of course, one big reason why the always-listening feature of Google Now doesn't kill the Moto X battery is because of the specialized X8 chipset with the voice companion core, but there may be a solution for that problem on some other devices. 

The X8 chipset is a modified Snapdragon S4 Pro with a beefed up GPU and two companion cores by Qualcomm. Qualcomm's top-of-the-line Snapdragon 800, which powers most new Android flagship devices, has Voice Activation built in to the chipset. Theoretically, this would mean that any Snapdragon 800 device would be able to leverage an ultra-low power mode to handle the always-listening voice commands. But, the question would remain as to if this update would be limited to devices running Android 4.4. 

If the functionality is already supported by the Snapdragon 800 chipset, it may be possible for Google to simply push an update to the Google Search app in the Play Store to add the functionality to any device with that chipset running Android 4.1 or higher (and we don't know of any Snapdragon 800 device that isn't at least on Android 4.2.) It may not happen right away, but it may be possible a little while after the Android 4.4 launch. 

There has been evidence found both in the Google Search APK to support this idea, and the guys at TuttoAndroid did confirm that the "OK Google Now" command did work from the homescreen in their testing of Android 4.4 (although they didn't confirm if it worked when the device was in sleep mode.)

The rumors keep claiming that Google will announce the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 any day now, so we should be getting the real story soon. 

source: SlashGear

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posted on 14 Oct 2013, 10:33

1. mottykels (Posts: 387; Member since: 15 May 2013)

I want this but i hope it works perfectly on s600

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 11:09 6

6. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2720; Member since: 26 May 2011)

The 600 doesn't have voice activation built-in, so I wouldn't get my hopes up on that.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 14:03 5

9. DaHarder (Posts: 177; Member since: 10 Oct 2009)

Which makes me all-the-happier that I bought the Galaxy Note 3 + Galaxy Gear last week.

Buying a Galaxy Note is most often assurance that the device will be read for anything (technologically) for at least a year or more.

Now let's hope that Samsung doesn't hesitate too long to get that Android 4.4 update out (once it's released).

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 00:52

12. fistigons (Posts: 354; Member since: 11 Feb 2012)

Oh it'll be 3-6 months.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 10:43 1

2. Reality_Check (Posts: 277; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)

MSM 8974... This guy is truly awesome ;)

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 10:51 4

3. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

This makes me happy. :)

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 10:53 2

4. _Bone_ (Posts: 2155; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

Nah I don't want useless battery drain. I have Now! turned off, and battery lasts much longer.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 10:59

5. Diazene (Posts: 129; Member since: 01 May 2013)

AFAIK, the x8 is a modified S4 pro, it's dual core, it's krait, it's clocked at 1.7 GHz, and it has an adreno 320 GPU

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 16:31

13. Penny (Posts: 1672; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)

The X8 Mobile Architecture consists of three separate processors and the GPU. The main processor is the one you mentioned, a dual core S4 Pro. They also have a specialized voice processor for the express purpose of this 'always on' listening feature, and then they finally have an additional contextual processor (not sure of its exact purpose)

So yeah, Motorola's recent Android devices were built optimized for this feature, so not sure how other standard quad cores are going to cope with it in terms of battery life.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 11:13

7. mr.techdude (Posts: 571; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)

Awesome!!! But I hope it's got some sort of battery optimization for other devices.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 11:21 1

8. SupermanayrB (Posts: 1035; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)

I figured they were going to roll this out. Google would be numbskulls not to. It's a great selling tool & would really help with the It Can Wait/Never Text & Drive campaigns.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 14:15

10. hawkeye7 (Posts: 12; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)

And what about the latest flagship phones not with snapdragon 800? S4 and note 3 international exynos versions anyone?

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 20:27

11. londoner (Posts: 34; Member since: 12 Sep 2013)

Am just about to buy the G2 but there is something that stoped me... i am talking about the os andoid 4.2 when the note 3 and htc has the 4.3 versions. how big is the differencies between the 4.2 and 4.3 versions of thejelly bean?
And will the G2 be eligible to get the 4.4 kit kat?

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