One of the key features that sets the Motorola Moto X apart from the competition is an optional always listening mode which lets you activate your phone by speaking to it — even if the display is off.

It’s part of the phone’s Touchless Controls feature — but it turns out the Moto X isn’t the only phone with the hardware to support always-on listening. Independent developer Guillaume Lesniak has figured out how to make a Google Nexus 5 smartphone behave like a Moto X.

nexus 5 listen

Both phones have chips from Qualcomm, but while the Moto X has a Moto X8 chipset with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and a natural language processor, among other components, the Nexus 5 has a Snapdragon 800 chip… which also happens to have a low-power audio chip which can offer some of the same features.

This allows the phones to listen for a keyword that will wake up the CPU and turn on the display without taking a dramatic toll on your device’s battery life.

There’s just one problem: Qualcomm’s chip might have the right hardware to support always-on listening, but Motorola developed the software in partnership with Nuance. So Lesniak is unlikely to be able to release his code without incurring the wrath of lawyers for those companies.

Still, Lesniak (who also goes by the moniker xplodwild on the internet) has posted a video showing how he can wake up his own Nexus 5 using nothing but voice recognition — showing that it’s theoretically possible for someone with the right licensing agreements to bring this Moto X feature to other phones with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 CPU.

via Android Authority

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18 replies on “Moto X style always listening demoed on Nexus 5”

  1. When or if the people listening need your support, silence or obedience they will have things on you that you may not like to be out in the open.. and we ALL know that bribes and threats are used in one way or another.

    They will have huge databases of “PERSONAL” information that can be used against you..even though it is not a crime you have committed, its just “PERSONAL”!

  2. Just a thought… Sense Motorola developed the moto x8 while owned by Google, does Google own it or does Motorola still maintain the rights to it? Does anyone know?

  3. My thoughts exactly Bolo. I love having a smartphone, but honestly, this kind of thing makes me a little nervous.

    1. What are you worried about? If you’re not doing anything shady, nobody cares what you’re doing. I think the whole NSA debacle is people thinking that they are more important than they actually are.

      1. You are SO completely wrong, misinformed, and/or naive… ‘Doing nothing wrong’ is NOT the point. It is our Constitutional right to privacy and prohibiting wrongful search or seizures…

        Eventually, at some point someone will be imprisoned falsely, due to error in interpretation (if it hasn’t already). Wake up, and quit giving the Government a pass on this eavesdropping bullsh*t… Because THAT is exactly what it is. Not to mention, probably illegal.

        1. Falsley imprisoned for everyday conversation? I’m sorry, but the average person doesn’t have intricate conversations about detailed terrorist plots on a daily basis. Stop thinking you and your life is more important than it is. There are over 300 million people in the united states and we’re not the only ones they collect data on. They have more important things to worry about than your everyday conversation. So go on, keep fighting the inevitable, just realize, the NSA isn’t the only one watching.

        2. I also forgot to add facts. They’re not listening to your phone calls or reading your super important text messages. They’re just keeping a database of who you call. So, if you call a suspected terrorist or if they call you- they have to get a warrant from a judge to actually read or listen to your calls. They need justification.

          1. You sound like a German in the 1930’s. Its thinking like that, that allows for despicable forces to take over. You have WAY too much faith in power mongers to do the right thing.

  4. the Moto X doesn’t have a snapdragon 800, it has a dual core Snapdragon S4 Pro Krait 300 CPU with a dreno 320 GPU , a Natural language processor and a Contextual computing core, this is called the Moto X8 mobile computing system.

    the Snapdragon 800 has a low power Heaxgon DSP which as been programmed to do this

    most built specific hardware for this, Qualcomm was working on this behind closed doors but never enabled it because it wasnt ready

        1. Thanks for the correction! I’d rather someone point these mistakes out to me so I can fix them… there’s enough incorrect info on the internet already without my help. 🙂

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