Reported Moto X+1 benchmarks suggest speedy Snapdragon 801 chip inside

It’s been a year since I bought my Moto X handset, the company’s flagship phone for 2013. So we should probably expect Motorola to debut a follow-up soon. Rumors have mentioned the name “X+1” for months — it could just be a codename and not the phone’s actual moniker — and a few benchmarks for what appears to be the X+1 have been published, says SlashGear.

Moto X screen

Geekbench has some of these benchmark numbers for a tested handset dubbed the Motorola XT1097.

According to Geekbench, the phone was running Android(s goog) 4.4.4 on a Qualcomm(s qcom) MSM8974 chip at 2.46 GHz. Qualcomm used the MSM8974 designation for the older Snapdragon 800 in 2013, but its clock speed was capped at 2.36 GHz. That means the tested phone likely has a newer Snapdragon 801 chip, the same you’ll find in the HTC One M8 or Samsung Galaxy S5. If correct, the Moto X successor should compare well in terms of performance this time around.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 801 which includes Quick Charge 2.0 technology (source: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 which includes Quick Charge 2.0 technology (source: Qualcomm)

Motorola worked with Qualcomm to customize the Snapdragon S4 Pro system-on-a-chip for the Moto X last year; that’s what allowed the phone to use a DSP chip for the “always listening” function that works with Google Now. There wouldn’t be any need for Motorola to take the exact same approach this time around, however. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 natively has that functionality, because¬†Qualcomm added it in the chip’s predecessor.

I suspect Motorola chose to customize an older Snapdragon for the original Moto X last year for two possible reasons: First, the Snapdragon 800 only became available in the second quarter of last year so processor inventory could have been low. Second, it’s likely¬†the company was able to put together a more power-efficient solution with the older chip. These reasons don’t exist this year, however. Motorola’s next flagship can continue to offer always listening functionality, reasonably long battery life and increased performance from a chip that’s now readily available.

If the benchmark data is correct, then, this year’s Moto X+1 won’t be looked upon the way the Moto X was — as an interesting phone with mid-range specifications. Instead, it would be a contender against the other flagships, particularly if the rumored 5.2-inch, 1080p display and 2 GB of memory — alluded to in the Geekbench data — are accurate specifications as well for the XT1097.

This post was updated at 12:36pm to remove the incorrect model number of the Moto X.