Intel logoAndroid OEMs and chip makers are forging ahead with the move to 64-bits and it looks like it could be Intel who gets their first. The microprocessor giant is reported to have finished work on a 64-bit version of Android’s Linux kernel that has been designed especially for its Silvermont low power SoC processor microarchitecture. Silvermont is the foundation for two SoC ranges: Merrifield, which is intended for smartphones, and Bay Trail, which is aimed at tablets and hybrid devices.

During CES Intel revealed that it has been making code contributions to the 64-bit version of Android 4.4 KitKat and that the kernel work is now complete. According to Hermann Eul, Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group, Intel has worked to ensure that, at the kernel level at least, OEMs using Silvermont based Atom processors have a 64-bit version of Android available for use on their devices.

There is currently little or no news about Google’s plans to support 64-bits in Android but Intel has gone ahead and added support itself. [quote qtext=”We don’t want partners to be held up (by Google’s delay). And when Google does provide that, partners can just slot that code into place.” qperson=”Hermann Eul” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

android architecture 64-bit kernel by intel

Android is a complex modern operating system that consists of multiple layers with the Linux kernel at the bottom where the software meets the hardware. On top of the kernel are other layers like the various Android libraries, the Android run-time, different application frameworks and then on the very top the actual apps. Intel has ensured that the bottom layer, the kernel, will boot and work in 64-bit mode on Silvermont processors. However the rest of the layers seem at the moment to remain 32-bit and it is likely that a full conversion to 64-bits will take some time.

It isn’t clear what sort of changes Intel has made since the Linux kernel has supported 64-bit architectures for many years. More details about Intel’s support for 64-bit Android, especially for Merrifield based smartphones, are expected at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona next month.

Gary Sims
Gary has been a tech writer for over a decade and specializes in open source systems. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Information Systems. He has many years of experience in system design and development as well as system administration, system security and networking protocols. He also knows several programming languages, as he was previously a software engineer for 10 years.
  • gils001

    It’s nice to see that Intel is helping with the shift to 64 bit android. Hopefully this will translate to better performance/support for Intel products Apps, Games, etc.

    • A googler

      Also will be useful for any future laptop versions of android

  • Balraj

    Everybody are into 64 bit excluding Google lol
    It’s kinda funny…

    • Indeed it is!!!

      I actually think Google are working hard in the background on something but they are keeping very quiet about it!


      • Luka Mlinar

        You are like the only person on the planet who uses a signature in a website comment as if it was an email. And thank god for that since i never would have guest your name was Gary :D

        • Luka, Thanks for noticing! The reason I add my name at the bottom is to try and remind people that comments are a form of communication and as such should adhere to some level of civility.

          Far too many times anonymous posters swear, moan, complain and generally insult each other hidden behind the cloak of anonymity while feeling they can deride their fellow humans just because he/she has a different opinion about what screen size is the best for a phone or something equally as minor.

          Since I author a fair number of articles on this site I get an unwarranted slice of the online abuse. I can’t stop mean spirited or ignorant people commenting, but I can try to add a level of decorum.

          Thanks, Gary
          PS. I am not talking about your comment!

          • Luka Mlinar

            Google, Facebook (among others) and the CIA are trying to remove any and all anonymity from the internet. They have proven to be quite good at it. Give it time and the “Guest” or “MuffinMan” nick names will be a thing of the past ;)

          • Luka, Anonymity and privacy are two different things. Sure there is some crossover but the ability to write horrid comments on a website has nothing to do with anonymity and everything to do with cowardice.

            I am a keen supporter of online privacy (please see the many articles I have written about it here on Android Authority) but comments are public and not private.


          • Luka Mlinar

            In that case stupid people will be stupid no mater what :P

          • MasterMuffin

            Mah muffins

          • jeff

            Well said !!!!!!

      • Balraj

        Maybe Google io..
        If it doesn’t come by then, maybe Google was caught by surprise…

      • jeff

        I was just about to say the same thing. S5 =64 bit most likely.

        • Jeff, it is possible that the S5 will have a 64 bit ARMv8 processor but that doesn’t mean Android will be fully 64 bit, Samsung could just add 64 bit support in the kernel (like Intel) and everything else remains 32 bit. I guess we will find out soon.


    • MasterMuffin

      No 64 bit Chrome for Windows! :/

      • Balraj

        Are you indirectly telling, they won’t be 64 bit android this year :-P
        Actually Google wants to kill Windows & take over pc market
        But that’s not a easy task….

        • Winston Purnomo

          64 bit for Android is still at least a year and a half away.

          • Balraj

            what is that you know that we don’t ? your so confident :/

    • lrd555

      Meanwhile, Apple’s selling 10s of millions of 64 bit devices. And will this mean even more fragmentation for Android? Sounds like it. Boy, what a mess!

  • Shark Bait

    I hear intel has more people working on android then google!

    • JLIT99

      Nokia does as well…