Ever since Apple launched the iPhone 5S with a 64-bit ARMv8 processor (the A7), Android handset makers, Google and the various System-on-a-Chip (Soc) designers have been under pressure to bring 64-bit computing to Android. Just after Apple launched the iPhone 5S, Samsung’s CEO JK Shin confirmed that the Korean company planned to ship 64-bit SoCs next year. Back in October a director in Samsung’s System LSI division confirmed during a conference call that the company was ready to manufacture its first 64-bit SoC and the current rumor is that the Samsung Galaxy S5 will feature such a chip. However Samsung isn’t the only chipmaker to license ARM’s next generation architecture.
According to new reports Qualcomm, Nvidia and Broadcom are all ready to release 64-bit quad-core processors during the first six months of 2014. This is likely true as Ian Drew, ARM’s Chief Marketing Officer and EVP for Business Development, recently wrote that during 2014 there will be a increase in the number of ARM based 64-bit solutions available not only for mobile devices but also for the networking and server markets. The Digi Times is reporting that the three chip vendors are planning to announce 64-bit solutions soon, maybe even as soon as January during CES 2014.
Industry observers who spoke with the Digi Times are suggesting that Qualcomm, Nvidia and Broadcom have all reworked their product roadmaps for 2014 so that they can release 64-bit smartphone solutions during Q1 and Q2.
It is thought that MediaTek, who recently announced its 8-core Cortex-A7 processor – the MT6592, will be ready with a 64-bit solution during the second half of 2014 while Allwinner, another low-cost processor manufacturer which supplies processors to the white-label Chinese tablet market, will introduce a 64-bit chip based on the ARM Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 cores late in 2015.
In terms of 64-bit software it looks like Google is making progress on a 64-bit version of Android. Helping out is Intel which recently demonstrated a 64-bit Android kernel running on a Bay Trail processor.