The Moto X represents the future of everything

In a few years, all phones, tablets and PCs will work just like the Moto X

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Just as the iPhone was the product that launched the interface revolution of the last seven years, the Moto X is the product that will define the next seven years.

The one Moto X feature that changes everything: The X8 processor

The Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System is a Motorola-customized Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM system-on-a-chip.

Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System
The Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System is the first mobile chipset optimized for Google services. It never stops paying attention.

The "8" in X8 refers to eight theoretical processor components, which is more about branding than processor architecture.

In reality, the X8 is a high-powered but fairly standard mobile phone CPU and GPU arrangement, plus two very non-standard and very powerful capabilities, both of which allow the phone to always pay attention to you and the environment without killing the battery.

The X8's Contextual Computing Processor is really a battery-optimized set of electronics and sensors that makes Google Now more aware of your phone's surroundings. The most astonishing of these abilities is low-power location awareness. As you know, turning on your phone's "location services" drains your battery. But the X8 keeps the phone updated about your location while drawing very little juice.

That means, for example, you can tell Google Now to remind you to pick up your dry cleaning, but only when you're near the cleaners. The Moto X doesn't need to be "on" in order for this to happen.

This chip will know when the phone is in a pocket or purse, and when it's on the table or in your hand -- even when it's in a deep, battery-conserving sleep.

Hands-free Google Now

The other revolutionary X8 feature involves microprocessor electronics for hands-free Google Now. If the user turns on the feature (it's off by default), the X8 enables your phone to always be listening through the microphone for the command "OK, Google Now," which wakes up the phone and instantly prepares it for your next command. It also handles noise cancellation and speech recognition.

The system also enables you to "train" the phone to respond especially well and exclusively to your voice. That means if you and your spouse each have a Moto X and both phones are on the table, your Google Now commands will be executed only via your phone even though the other phone can hear you.

This waking up and giving commands business can be done with the phone in your hand, on the desk, on the car seat next to you or on a table 15 feet away.

Unlike previous implementations of Google Now, which is currently an app that requires you to "launch" it with a screen gesture and which relays your voice to the cloud for processing, the X8 does some, most or all voice processing right there in the hardware without touching an app or even waking up the phone.

Google Now is faster because the phone is already listening. It's faster because the processing is done locally. And it's faster because the voice electronics make it more accurate.

Note that this stuff is not some interface gimmick or parlor trick like so many features being touted on high-end smartphones these days. This technology removes obstacles between your brain and Google's brain. This is real empowerment.

(Of course, Motorola's Droid line, announced last week and including new versions of the Droid Mini, Ultra and Maxx, also have the X8. But those phones are a continuation of Motorola's ill-fated target-the-geeks strategy -- young males who like science fiction. The Moto X, on the other hand, is the Google Phone for everybody -- men, women, children, business people -- and will therefore having a broad-based cultural impact.)

There's more.

The Moto X can not only pay attention to its location and context and listen to you for voice commands, it also enables the checking of notifications, messages and the time without you touching it.

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