Apple officially became the first manufacturer to produce a smartphone with 64-bit processor when it introduced the iPhone 5S with A7‚ processor which is based on 64-bit ARMv8 architecture. However, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Broadcom are soon going to join Apple in this race. Digitimes reports that according to its sources, the 64-bit quad-core processors for smartphones from these manufacturers are expected to debut at CES 2014.
It can be predicted that sometime in future we are bound to see 64-bit mobile processor become mainstream. However, when Apple launched the 64-bit A7 processor industry experts were skeptical if indeed 64-bit processors were needed right now. It is being said that 64 bit processors are not going to provide any performance improvements at the moment. The chief advantage of using a 64-bit processor is that it can address more than 4GB of RAM. Current android smartphones feature a maximum of 3GB RAM and iPhone 5S is still content with 1GB of RAM. Android fans were quick to mark this move from Apple as a marketing stunt.
Eventually, to keep up with the competition Android manufacturers are taking the step towards 64-bit processors and Samsung announced its plans for 64-bit processors in its upcoming flagship smartphones just after the iPhone 5S launch. Qualcomm representative Anand Chandrasekher made the mistake of calling Apple¢â‚¬â„¢s 64-bit chips a ¢â‚¬Å"gimmick¢â‚¬ and he was demoted from the position of chief marketing officer by the company, because even Qualcomm was on the path of producing 64-bit processors.‚ According to the report by DigiTimes the three processor manufacturers: Qualcomm, Nvidia and Broadcom had to change their roadmaps to make space for 64-bit processor launches.
Just having a 64-bit hardware is not enough, we need the right software too. Currently all apps are optimized for 32-bit processors, they need to be reworked so that they can take full advantage of the 64-bit ones, but even then we won't see real performance benefits until more than 4GB of RAM is required in smartphones.‚ On the OS front, Google seems to have already started working on ‚ 64-bit Android.
If we move away from the ARM camp we could see Intel making efforts for supporting 64-bit Android. Intel¢â‚¬â„¢s x86 based mobile processors already have 64-bit technology, and recently Intel demonstrated their 64-bit Android Kernel on a Bay Trail processor.
Low cost processor manufacturers like MediaTek and Allwinner are set to bring 64-bit variants of their processors too. MediaTek recently launched their true octa core Cortex A7 processor MT6592, but smartphone manufacturers seems to be more focused on having 64-bit solutions and MediaTek‚ in order to meet the industry demand will have 64-bit version of their 8 core processor by second half of 2014. Allwinner will take some time to catch up and plans to have ARM cortex A53 and Cortex A57 processors with 64-bit architecture by late 2015.