Motorola X8 homemade SoC recap: modified Snapdragon forms 'the first true mobile computing system'

What is the Motorola X8 processor?
Motorola just joined the list of mobile device makers with their own homebrew ARM-based processor, called the X8. The actual name is Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System, and the dry facts are a 1.7 GHz dual-core application processor, 400 MHz quad-core GPU, a natural language processor core, and a contextual computing core.

This is worthy of calling it an 8-core processor according to Moto (Samsung has dibs on the "octa" moniker, we assume), and it is apparently optimized for more than just apps, games and the general stroll around the interface.

Those "natural language"and "contextual computing" cores are hinting at dedicated processes for the OK Google Now touchless control, which keeps the phone aware for its surrounding and your commands even in locked state, and features like Active Display notifications. The reason we didn't have it until now is that such an always-on system takes a toll on the battery, but our guess is that these dedicated processor cores are tasked to maintain the awareness with the utmost frugality, similar to the standby consumption.

As for the muscles, Motorola claimed at the presentation of the new DROIDs that the chip delivers 24% faster CPU and 100% beefier GPU performance compared to the previous DROID lineup. A Motorola spokesperson detailed the X8 as based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon SoC family, with Krait processor and Adreno graphics cores, but heavily modified with additional sidekick cores to handle the always-on voice control and language processing.

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Since those touchless control and active notification features are promoted for the Moto X too, we can safely assume that the X8 processor will make a cameo there as well, more so that the rumors and leaked benchmarks peg it as sporting a 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 Pro processor, which seems to be the base for the X8 homebrew SoC, too. Here's the full scoop:


Google is first and foremost an engineering company, so it's not a surprise that with Motorola it is going the homebrew SoC way, just like Apple, Samsung and Huawei, for instance, purposefully creating a mobile processor to suit particular unique features, instead of chasing benchmarks and vertical integration economies of scale only.

references: TaylorWimberly (G+) & TheVerge

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