We had heard that 64-bit processing will be finding their way into mobile devices in the future, but there did not seem much concern or a compelling need for it…that is, until Apple surprised everybody with a 64-bit processor in its new iPhone 5s this past Fall. Immediately, the Android tech world demanded a 64-bit processor in their devices – not that a 64-bit processor would really make a difference until the ecosystem surrounding and supporting that 64-bit processor was built. However, Apple did what they do best and pulled off a great marketing ploy and millions fell into its trap…kudos to Apple.
All of the chipmakers are working on their own 64-bit processor for the Android devices, with none other than Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the largest contract chip manufacturer in the world, leading the charge. And where TSMC goes, you can be sure that others will quickly follow. Mark Liu, co-CEO of TSMC, said, “If you observe the mobile device industry, in the past six months we do see the…conversion to 64-bit [in processors] after the Apple [64-bit A7 processor] announcement.” TSMC makes processors for our friends at Qualcomm that have all but taken over the Android flagship devices – providing the 800/801 Snapdragon quad-core processors for the HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5 and LG devices. TSMC has been dropping hints that they have either started or will start very shortly manufacturing 64-bit chips and they may even provide Apple with its next generation processor if rumors pan out.
Intel, not Qualcomm, should be dominating the mobile chip world, but seemed unwilling to start designing flagship device mobile chips – it is almost as if they did not get the ‘memo’ that PCs or laptops were on their way out. There are already 64-bit Intel chips inside certain tablets, and they are just waiting for Android to flip that 64-bit switch and they too will be ready with their Merrifield chip later this year. Samsung, another huge manufacturer of quality chips – although they have used Qualcomm branded chips in their 4G LTE devices here in the U.S. – did their usual dance around exactly when they would have 64-bit chip ready. Kyushik Hong, Vice President of Marketing for Samsung’s system LSI business, told our source, CNET, “Our chip will be ready whenever the operating systems and ecosystem go 64-bit.” They expect to have theirs by the end of 2014 and he has said that Samsung would not be the ‘bottleneck’ that slows the conversion to 64-bit. This is another company that I cannot figure out – they still have to use Qualcomm chips because of LTE connectivity issues with their our Exynos Octa-Core chips – how long does it take a huge, powerful and cash-rich company like Samsung, to produce their own chip?
Qualcomm announced a host of 64-bit processors, even their names – Snapdragon 808 and 810 – but they will not be ready to ship these chips in large quantities until the first half of 2015. Nvidia is expecting to ship a 64-bit version of its Tegra K1 later this year. Another giant in the chip industry, MediaTek will have its 64-Bit MT6752 platform commercially available in the third quarter of this year but will not go into mass production until the fourth quarter 2014. Please let us know on our Google+ Page what you think about the whole 64-bit mystic – are you buying into it, simply want it because Apple has it, or could you care less? It is true that 64-bit will give your device the ability to address more RAM and it will allow applications to handle huge chunks of data more efficiently, hence faster – do we really need it in a smartphone…as always, we would love to hear from you.