The above image is of the new 64-bit development board that’s been put together by both ARM and Linaro. The development board, dubbed Juno, is an ARMv8 board with two Cortex-A57 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores, the basis that the vast majority of upcoming 64-bit processors heading to smartphones will be using. As we discussed in our previous article on Juno, Linaro will be handling the software side of things with ARM providing the hardware. Many of you might be familiar with Linaro, a project that takes Google’s code from the Android Open Source Project (the AOSP) and compiles it using their own toolchains and methods to try and improve upon the original. In a lot of cases, Linaro has managed to speed up Android quite a bit and custom ROM users out there can attest to this with Kernels and ROMs built from source using the Linaro toolchain often offering a performance boost.
Budding developers and more likely hardware manufacturers eyeing up 64-bit chips for future hardware, will be glad to hear that Linaro’s software stack has now been ported to ARMv8-A, bringing 64-bit support along with it. What does it mean for the likes of you and I? Well, not much however, this is an important step for 64-bit when it comes to mobile. The 14.06 release of Linaro now supports 64-bit ARMv8 instructions, which means that ARM partners – the likes of Qualcomm, NVIDIA and Samsung – that are looking to test 64-bit hardware have a solid platform to work with.
Android L has already been announced to support 64-bit, and we’re sure that next year’s chips, which are pegged to be chock full of 64-bit goodness, will appreciate Linaro’s contribution. This 14.06 release of Linaro is built with the Linux Standard Kernel at version 3.10 and uses a more up-to-date GCC 4.9 as its compiler. The takeaway from all of this is that 64-bit is coming to Android hardware, and unlike the iPhone 5S’ mythical 64-bit chip, Android vendors will be ready and the new word length might actually make a difference when it hits next year.