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Motorola X8 system detailed: 'secret sauce' are not ARM cores

Posted: , posted by Victor H.

Motorola X8 system detailed: 'secret sauce' are not ARM cores
The Motorola Moto X is finally officially getting unveiled tomorrow, but details about its bread and butter, the under-the-hood X8 system that powers its unique functions have already surfaced.

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 [80] 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.

source: PCMag

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