Moto X Style Breaks the Platform Model Using Cirrus Logic’s Audio Codec

27 Oct 2015

Motorola’s latest Moto X, the Moto X Style, breaks the platform mold for the first time in many years by using a third-party audio codec, Cirrus Logic’s WM6277.   With just a handful of mobile platform providers left in the market, the need to provide a complete platform solution has become mandatory.  In fact,  the platform model has been so successful that most platform providers are attempting to expand their content in the phone by further integrating other functions, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM, GPS and power amplifiers,  into the core platform chips (modem, PMU, audio codec, transceiver).  Quite significantly bucking this trend, Cirrus Logic displaced a platform audio codec with their own solution in the Moto X Style.

See the Motorola Moto X Style Teardown.

“Now, more than ever, breaking into a mobile platform is quite an accomplishment,” says Jim Mielke, VP of Engineering at ABI Research.  “Platforms are not just a set of chips, but rather a complete ecosystem including integrated circuits, software and peripheral devices.  Replacing a platform component requires extra time and resources from the phone manufacturer, so it is virtually unheard of today.   Phone life cycles and product cost are constant pressures every manufacturer deals with so replacing a platform component, as was done in the Moto X Style, is only done when the manufacturer feels there is a significant cost or performance benefit.”

Since its start, the Moto X family of phones has been very successful due to the always on voice control feature that it brought to market.  The function was originally created with extra components that sat alongside the platform chipset.  In this generation of Moto X, however, the function is included in the WM6277 audio codec (package marked with Motorola Logo  and XMSC1000).

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Teardowns Market Research, which includes parts lists, high-res photos and power and performance testing.

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