touchless

This is Why The Nexus 5 Isn’t Always Listening a La the Moto X

November 26, 2013 - Written By Tom Dawson

When the Nexus 5 launched, we were all a little surprised to see that it didn’t feature the same impressive touchless control that debuted with the Moto X. Otherwise known as “always listening”, you can simply talk to your Moto X to perform Google Searches and more with the command “OK Google”. That feature didn’t launch with the Nexus 5 and there are a couple of important reasons why. For one, the Nexus 5 uses “off the shelf” parts and features the same Snapdragon 800 as most other smartphones launch in H2 of 2013. Meanwhile, the Moto X has a custom CPU that’s built with a dual-core CPU and additional cores dedicated to always listening and more. That alone allows the hardware to keep its ear’s pricked up, waiting for you to say “OK Google”.

More than that though, it seems that the requisite software is not a part of Android itself. As CNET is reporting, an enterprising modder went about trying to mod the active notifications of the Moto X and made an interesting discovery. He discovered that the Moto X utilizes Nuance’s Dragon voice recognition software, which is – as you guessed – licensed software that needs to be paid for. It’s also what powers Apple’s Siri in the iPhone, too. Thanks to this, we’re pretty sure that the feature won’t ever make it to a Nexus device, as Nexus devices are supposed to be as open as possible and making a key feature proprietary would go against that idea.

Frankly, if that’s the reason it wasn’t included then fine, let’s keep Android open just as it was always intended to be. Besides, just because the Moto X runs stock Android, doesn’t mean its features have to be fed back into Android. If anything, the Moto X is the best example that a device can run stock Android and still be its own device, still stand out from the crowd. So, to keep a few features back makes perfect sense to us. What do you think though? Are you Nexus 5 owners still lamenting the omission of always listening? Let us know!