arm-64-bit

Qualcomm Is Reportedly Working on 64-Bit ARMv8 Chips

December 9, 2013 - Written By Lucian Armasu

Qualcomm may soon jump on the 64-bit chip bandwagon, too, according to a new report that says they are working not only on ARMv8 chips, but also on octa-core chips (which are presumably also based on the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture). However, you shouldn’t get your hopes up too much because these chips probably won’t arrive until late 2014, at best.

The chip that’s definitely 64-bit seems to be a successor to the mid-range Snapdragon 400, going by its Snapdragon 410 name. Snapdragon 400 was actually a range of chips going from a dual core 1.2 Ghz Krait to dual core 1.7 Ghz Krait, with Adreno 305 GPU, to having a completely different CPU from ARM – or a quad core 1.2 Ghz Cortex A7, to be more exact, also with Adreno 305 GPU.

The new Snapdragon 410 seems to come with LTE integrated by default which should be a boon for every 2014 mid-range device that has this chip (possibly even the successor of the Moto G). As for what’s the exact CPU and GPU that it will contain, that remains unknown, although if they go with ARM’s solution again, it could be a quad-core Cortex A53, along with some new mid-range GPU from Qualcomm, or ARM’s own upcoming Mali T720 GPU.

The other chip mentioned in this report is one that has an octo-core CPU, and is probably a higher-end version, so I’d be surprised if it wasn’t based on ARMv8, too. This could be Qualcomm’s (true) successor to the Snapdragon 800 for late 2014. This also means that Qualcomm won’t have any 64-bit solution for the first half of 2014, so if you buy a phone with a Qualcomm chip in the first half of 2014, chances are it will be one of the very last phones to be on the ARMv7 architecture. That’s something to keep in mind, if future proofing is important to you, and you’re not switching your phones every 6-12 months.

Granted, other than Samsung, we haven’t heard much about other chip makers bringing 64-bit chips in the first half of 2014, and even the Samsung one isn’t a sure thing. Nvidia was also supposed to bring their first 64-bit Denver core in 2015, but some rumors were saying they may try to bring some 64-bit chip next year (whether it’s Denver or Cortex A57, it’s unknown).

Still, it’s surprising to see so many chip makers were caught completely off-guard by Apple’s early move to ARMv8, and that it’s going to take them a year longer or more before they bring their own ARMv8 chips. Hopefully, every chip maker, and Google, too, are working hard to bring 64-bit devices to market as early as possible in 2014, with an OS and native apps that are optimized for them.