Ever since two things occurred – Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 5S and Google announcing 64-bit support in Android 4.4 KitKat – we have been waiting for Samsung and Qualcomm to get us a 64-bit processor in our Android devices. There were rumors that one would find its way into the new Samsung Galaxy S5, but we now know that is not going to happen. Qualcomm and Intel are said to be the furthest ahead in the race, but Samsung said they expect to have a 64-bit chip by the end of 2015. Kyushik Hong, vice president of marketing for Samsung’s system LSI business, told CNET at Mobile World Congress (MWC):
“64-bit is very important … in the sense that there’s a real demand, whether you need it or not. We are very actively working on it.”
He was very politley telling us that 64-bit is not a necessity at this point in mobile devices, however, because of the perceived need for this feature, they will be producing one, but that they are in no hurry. Samsung is the world’s largest maker of memory chips, is making a bigger push with its application processor line. They also want to be the largest manufacturer of processing chips even though they are not even ranked at this point. Samsung is trying to stress the separation between their divisions – Samsung Mobile and Samsung System LSI – as two distinct business operating under the Samsung name.
For Samsung to achieve this goal they must develop chips that integrate the application processor with the cellular chip – this makes for better battery life and makes the device less expensive to manufacturer using only one chip rather than two. The Qualcomm Snapdragon line is the best example of this type of chip integration and is one of the reasons that they dominate that market.
Only the Samsung Galaxy Win uses an integrated Samsung processing chip with LTE built-in and is surprisingly only used in this low or mid-range device. Samsung’s high-end Exynos chip line remains as a standalone processor with no cellular chip attached, however, Hong says that they are going to make high-end integrated chips in the future. Hong stated: “Since we see more opportunity for the mid- and low-end segment where integrated makes more sense, we’re already working on it. We have a whole product roadmap to address that space with different approaches.”
So while it looks like there is a promise from Samsung to make a 64-bit integrated chip in the future, and possibly by the end of 2015, it appears in the near future we can expect more Qualcomm Snapdragon chips in our Samsung devices – and that is not a bad thing, only an observation. At this point in time Samsung believes their resources should be focused on the lower-end market where cutting costs are more important, however, if they want to have a worldwide presence in the mobile chip business, they will have to produce a high-end integrated Exynos chip was well.