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

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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33 Comments

2. nobelset

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

"we invented mobile" that gave me goose bumps xD

20. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

Gave me chills when I stopped to think how many companies could have purchased Motorola before Google had the chance.

24. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I like the idea of a US company owning Motorola. The only other company I could have accepted taking over Motorola is Qualcomm.

4. Cha7520

Posts: 222; Member since: Oct 31, 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: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

motorola brand is getting less and less...

9. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 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: 346; Member since: May 21, 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: 2036; Member since: May 29, 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..

29. tedkord

Posts: 17414; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Gingerbread for rid of that.

11. jove39

Posts: 2147; Member since: Oct 18, 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: Jan 16, 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: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 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: 2036; Member since: May 29, 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: 658; Member since: May 16, 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: 867; Member since: Jun 19, 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: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 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: 2036; Member since: May 29, 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: May 09, 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. lets see.

31. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 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 unregistered

What I'm interested in seeing is the battery life. I could care less bout playing games on a phone.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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