Developer taps into Snapdragon 800’s always-listening core, give Nexus 5 Moto X-like Touchless Controls


A post on Google+ blew up after the developer of a popular custom ROM showed off a proof of concept where his Nexus 5 effectively mimicked the always listening “Touchless Control” function found in the Motorola Moto X. How exactly was this done, you ask? No witchcraft, just a little Android knowledge.

Still in its early state, was able to tap into Qualcomm’s QDSP6V5 low-power DSP core found in the Snapdragon 800 processor. Because this is separate from the cores used for handling applications, in theory, this would have a minimal impact on battery life, keeping the main CPU in a sleep state as usual.

Although Qualcomm has yet to release any of the Snapdragon 800’s always listening APIs to developers (we could never figure out exactly why), they sure had no problem boasting about this specific feature of their SoC. It’s a shame we haven’t really seen it in action, until now.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU

Because this is still very much “unofficial,” and the developer is attempting to avoid drama with Qualcomm’s legal department, he’s holding back from releasing any details on how it was done. For now, we can find solace in knowing that it has been accomplished (however buggy), and that there’s still a glimmer of hope this feature may find itself in a future version of the OmniROM custom Android software.

Who knows, maybe Qualcomm is keeping their cards close to their chest for a future Nexus device, or even Android release. Why should the Moto X have all the fun?

Thanks, Derek!


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. -1

    1. touche

  2. Glad to see hacks for this. I use the Voice activation on my Droid MAXX all the time.

    1. How much battery life you gettin’ on that thing btw? O_o

      1. Maybe you should ask your coworker doesn’t Quentin use it as his daily driver? Maybe if you ask nice he will sim unlock it and let you test her out

      2. I can get thru 2 days and sometimes 3. Pretty impressed.

  3. I kind of figured it would only be a matter of weeks until we saw this show up.

    Gotta love the android community.

  4. Would be great to have for my Nexus 5!!

    1. Tasker voice commands with Autovoice can basically enable you to do this on many rooted Android devices for some modest fees to very deserving app developers.

      1. Does that tap into the low-power DSP? I think it would still use the main processor

        1. Exactly. I want to be able to use the low power DSP.

        2. It does not tap into the low power DSP. I was using the above setup and after spending way too long to get it to work properly, Battery life was certainly affected.

        3. No, I highly doubt that it does. My apologies for not noticing that this article’s setup utilises the low-power DSP.

        4. To be fair, though, any device that has a processor that doesn’t have a low-power DSP or that doesn’t function with a mod like this doesn’t really have an opinion outside of Tasker.

  5. If he was smart he would wait a month or two, take up a different alias and leak the relavent bits. Serves qualcomm right. Then it could become an Xposed module.

  6. That’s freakng awesome.

  7. I have been waiting for this since launch day, beggin on xda daily for this, thank god for developers!!

  8. Rumor has it the m8 will utilize this core as well

    1. If HTC actually takes advantage of that like the Moto X/MAXX do, then they’re worth looking at again. Samsung is so busy pushing dozens of niche/useless features into their software they neglect great usable innovations like this. I’m so glad Moto got the X out with that feature before Apple could lay claim to it.

  9. Truly, underutilized hardware makes me sad. This also makes me think that the battery life could be so much better than it is(at least it is good on the music playback).

  10. hi there,

  11. Getting it on the Note 3 shouldn’t be hard for this dev, right? It’s the same SoC, but on a better phone!

    1. One issue may be the locked bootloaders on the Note 3 which make it at least in dev terms arguably a much worse device actually.

    2. Better phone is debatable. Sammy’s locked bootloader’s are becoming quite the issue for the mod community. I am staying away from Samsung phones for the foreseeable future, unless they become more mod friendly (so probably never). I wouldn’t count on this coming to the Note, I am not really all that hopeful that it will become a usable ROM for my Nexus 5. But with enough support and work, who knows. Just a proof of concept right now.

      1. I think locking bootloader is more a carrier thing. My Tmobile note 3, and my s4 was unlocked. But Verizon is locked.

    3. I don’t see why it cant since technically you already have it but with Svoice though. In the Svoice setting, turn on “Voice wake up”. Hardly notice any battery drain. I’ve been using this since the note 3 came out on tmobile.

  12. I’ve always resented the Moto X for having this feature while other top end phones didn’t. Note 3 users can now at least hope for the feature to come to their devices. In the middle of the night, I’ve always wanted to just say “ok google now, what time is it?” without opening my eyes. Or say “ok google now, where are you?” and have an alarm go off under a pile of clothes. Or in a restaurant and say “ok google now, what is $60 with 10% tips and split between 4 people?”

    1. It is so convenient. Especially now with the What’s Up command. I wake up and immediately call out to my phone getting time and all notifications that came in during the night read to me while still snuggled under the covers.

    2. Do you have a note 3? Wake up features is built into s voice. Just have to set it up. But yea, not as accurate as google voice.

      1. With tasker, you can get a note 3 to do always listening Google now:

        1. YupI actually use tasker in my car since my radio doesnt support A2DP and Svoice doesnt work right. But google voice does. So when BT connects to my car then I have a task that will launch google voice when it launches Svoice with the wake up command.

          But I don’t use google voice when I’m out of my car since I prefer Svoice as I can ask it to read my message and reply to them via voice. Google voice can’t do this yet. Just wish Svoice was more accurate.

  13. I’m not surprised he was able to implement it. On the note 3 with s800 processor, you can already set up touchless controls via Svoice. Once set, just say “Hi Galaxy” to wake up the phone and say your svoice commands. All without touching the phone. It also doesn’t eat up your battery so I’m assuming it’s using that low power core. Pretty handy if your phone is not within reach. Svoice actually has some very cool features, such asking it to read your text messages and you can respond via voice, along with some standard google voice features, like asking the weather, time, call, initate a text, etc. I just wish Svoice had better voice recognition than google voice though.

  14. it is co processor

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