Image source: Android & Me
Writing about the Motorola X Phone, or the Moto X, this close to its launch tonight is fraught with danger. In a few short hours, a writer’s speculations about an upcoming product could all be proven wrong. But I cannot help it. The Moto X launch is, for me, the most anticipated product launch since the Apple iPhone 4 and the Google Galaxy Nexus. Motorola has revealed some tidbits of information on its X8 technology which has really piqued my interest.
Iqbal Arshad, Motorola’s senior vice president of engineering revealed to PCMag, “If you look at the X8 mobile computing system, it has a cluster of processors and then some separate elements of the system.” These separate elements appear to be a contextual computing processor and a natural language processor.
Mr. Arshad explained further that “The contextual computing processor handles the sensors, display and touch interaction, but it also appears to function as the primary processor when the phone is in standby mode, including showing status and notification information on the display. The natural language processor deals with audio, noise estimation and noise cancellation x x x.” These sound like half truths. Like Mr. Arshad was only revealing half the picture. It sounds like Motorola is about to bridge a divide.
Context-Aware computing is the combination of data, like location, wireless state, movement and handset orientation, together with user habits, calendar entries and other sources of information to paint a complete picture of the situation. This is done to anticipate the needs of a user even before a request for action is made. Sounds like Google Now on steroids.
Together with this is the dedicated natural language processor. I doubt that its task is limited to “audio, noise estimation and noise cancellation”. Instead, it sounds like the Moto X which will be “always on” allowing the contextual computing processor to interact with you.
Now I lack the foresight to see where this kind of technology could lead. My imagination limits me to thinking of simple things like your Android suddenly blurting out, “Shall I call the restaurant and ask them to hold your dinner table reservation? We are running 15 minutes late.” As the call is made, the phone switches the speakerphone off as you pull it up to your ear. Motorola may literally be trying to convert your smartphone into an android.
It also appears that Mr. Arshad hinted that this kind of technology will be available to work on other processors and platforms. Instead of just launching a new phone, Motorola may be launching new technology available for licensing to other Android partners.
Then again I could be wrong. The contextual computing processor and natural language processor could really just be to improve performance and battery life. We will find out in a few hours.