On July 23, Motorola Mobility (a subsidy of Google) unveiled the new generation of Verizon Droid phones (Droid Ultra, Droid Mini and Droid Maxx). The most interesting info from the event is that all these 3 phones are powered by custom-made system-on-a-chip (SoC) (based on Snapdragon S4 Pro), not the stock Snapdragon chip.
Motorola named it as the X8 mobile computing system. The coming Moto X phone will surely be powered by this mobile computing system.
What makes this X8 mobile computing system unique? Will it be a game changer for mobile phones? Why it it named as a “computing system”?
The uniqueness of X8 is its two additional cores. There are totally 8 cores in X8 (this probably explains why it is named as X8). Among them, two CPU cores, four GPU cores, one natural language processor/core, and one contextual computing processor/core.
If you own a Samsung Galaxy S4, you probably already have a Exynos Octa 5, which has 8 cores. But all of them are CPU cores. The 4 A15 cores at 1.8GHz are for CPU intensive jobs, and another 4 A7 cores at 1.2GHz are for less intensive jobs to save power.
So, 8-core (actually 4 CPU cores) itself has nothing to boost. Most 2012/2013 flagship smartphones already have quad-core inside: Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S4, HTC One, HTC Butterfly, Sony Xperia Z…
We are excited about Motorola’s X8 because of their two non-conventional cores.
With the Motorola X8’s natural language processor, Moto X is ready to respond any voice commands without touching your phone. It should work even when the display is off. If Motorola can (why not?) combine this capability with Google Now, the Moto X will definitely give owner an exceptional experience. You can instantly get the traffic info, reminders, news, calling and texting information. This is clearly demoed in the Rogers’s video.
The contextual computing processor is even more useful. It simply makes Moto X smarter. The phone always knows whether your Moto X is in your pocket, in your hand or in your bag. Based on such info, the phone is intelligent enough to lights up the display when you’re ready to look. For camera, the processor can get information from sensors to detect the motion, ambient light and the location of your phone. It will be ready when you “want” to take a photo.
Of course, all these jobs can be done with normal CPU cores. But if you turn such functions on all the time (always-on), the battery will drain very fast.
X8 uses low power cores (combined with low power sensors) for such jobs. They are actually companion cores with extremely low power consumption So, the always-on feature will not affect battery life.
So, I do believe all smartphones will adopt this design in near future to make the phone smarter.
Will Moto X save Motorola? Very likely. We will know it on August 1.