Motorola X8 ARM SoC released, modified MSM8960 Pro with Adreno 320 with new always-on sensors

Posted by Charbax – July 24, 2013

Google Motorola with Qualcomm designs modified Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM SoC based on the dual-core 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 Pro with quad-core Adreno 320 GPU. Google says they add "natural language" and "contextual computing" cores hinting at dedicated processes for the OK Google Now touchless control features, to me feel like Sensor Fusion type of support within new upcoming smart devices. This means extreme low power sensors that can monitor things all the time, or which can for example "start listening" as long as the phone is touched at some point in the specific amount of time before you do the touchless voice commands. These types of sensor fusion features may bring very impressive new features to smartphones, the phone may learn always more about where it is in the world, where it is around you, about exact touching and other things. Think about sensors that detect taps without needing to even turn on the screen, meaning you could interact while keeping it in your pocket. Sensor fusion processing is so low power, as far as I remember hearing from Freescale, the battery in a phone can run that sensor for something like a year, or several months, where it can constantly monitor all movements of the device, triggering other areas on the SoC to be activated when specific movements are detected. Consider this may replace the need for a power button to be touched each time you power on the screen of your phone. Consider unlocking mechanisms and a whole new range of gestures and behaviors to interact with your phone. Your phone may even detect all types of touches not only on the screen but also on the back and around your phone, perhaps even touches on the table next to your phone. The GPS may be further optimized and super accurate and fast for all types of positioning features, including expanded Google Now functionality, without turning the phone on, from within your pocket, your phone may start saying something like "Hey Roger, you should check out the restaurant to your right, and I think you must be hungry" because your phone can know that you haven't eaten yet and it knows what types of restaurants you like and it can constantly monitor your positioning to provide smart automatic notifications based on the types of augmented information you would like.

I don't know if Google Motorola with Qualcomm is integrating those new sensors on the die of that Snapdragon/Adreno or if those new type of sensors are outside of the die on the SoC somehow. Does anyone here have any info about how Google Motorola and Qualcomm are doing it? And how are the other ARM SOC vendors going to start shipping all those new Sensor Fusion and advanced Sensor features into devices?

Google Motorola is shipping this new Motorola X8 ARM Processor in their new range of Droid phones (selling exclusively on Verizon in the USA) and it's probably also in the Moto X phone to be launched next week in New York (I wish Goog was inviting me to any of their events).

Are you looking forward to Moto X?

I think that Moto X needs to be $199 unlocked out of contract, released for pre-paid carriers around the world, even shipping with dual-sim card support. If Google can source enough X8 ARM Processors with Qualcomm, enough screens from whoever provides Motorola with screens and if Google can have suppliers manufacture and assemble those fast enough (including those that are rumored to be assembled in the USA, I guess to supply the US market only), if Google wants to sell Moto X all over the developing world, Google can rapidly expand Motorola's market share in smartphone sales worldwide. I can't wait to hear more about the features of the Moto X, how Google integrates those new sensors in Android, how those Sensors expand on the features of ARM Powered devices and to hear more about the range of hardware that Google and Motorola are planning to release. Android merging with Chrome OS and Google TV is just going to be a small part of our future.

3 years ago, I first video-blogged about Freescale's Contextual Sensor Fusion technology talking about Freescale's Xtrinsic Sensor technology being launched at the Freescale Technology Forum in June 2010, that may be similar to the technologies now to be included in Motorola's new range of devices including in the Moto X, this is what I wrote in the description of this video here on this blog in June 2010:

Imagine not needing a power button to turn on your phone, just pick it up. Imagine cheaper warranty as manufacturers will know when devices were damaged because of usage error such as fall or banging. Imagine new user interfaces that are much more relying on sensors as the new Freescale Xtrinsic sensors can measure stuff 2000 times per second (the bandwidth and architecture being better). Imagine also sensors combining their abilities through fusion, again, no need to wake up the main ARM processor of the device to do all kinds of things! Imagine the device knowing exactly how it is touched, how it is moved, how it is held, the touch is not anymore only on the screen! This means better battery usage, months maybe even years of seamless standby. The new Xtrinsic sensor only needs 12 micro amps of power to be turned on all the time!