Qualcomm no longer thinks 64-bit ARM processors are a ‘marketing gimmick’

October 9, 2013
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Apple A7 CPU iFixit

A few days ago¬†Qualcomm‚Äôs senior vice president and chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher said that Apple’s new A7 processor, which supports ARM’s 64-bit instruction set, was a “marketing gimmick” and that there was “zero benefit” for consumers. Considering that Qualcomm is a leading designer and manufacturer of ARM based processors his comments were odd to say the least and certainly out of place. More bizarrely he also added that the benefits of 64-bit computing are “Predominantly… you need it for memory addressability beyond 4GB. That’s it.” Either¬†Chandrasekher knows very little about 64-bit computing or he was having a hard day.

It now seems that Qualcomm has realized the damage that Chandrasekher has done and the company has issued a formal statement retracting his comments:

The comments made by Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm CMO, about 64-bit computing were inaccurate. The mobile hardware and software ecosystem is already moving in the direction of 64-bit; and, the evolution to 64-bit brings desktop class capabilities and user experiences to mobile, as well as enabling mobile processors and software to run new classes of computing devices.

The wording of the statement is interesting. Notice that nothing is said about Apple’s A7 processor per se, and that is too be expected as Qualcomm aren’t about to give Apple a free quote about the advances of the A7. But it does get right to the core of¬†Chandrasekher’s error. Qualcomm uses the term “64-bit computing” and clearly since the CMO’s comments were “inaccurate” (meaning wrong) Qualcomm is no longer pretending that 64-bits isn’t the future.

Qualcomm certainly needs its own “marketing gimmick” now because the other top chip makers have already jumped on the 64-bit bandwagon. NVIDIA has been working with ARM since it announced the details of the ARMv8 instruction set back in 2011 and Samsung’s co-CEO JK Shin has already revealed that its “next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality.” If Qualcomm doesn’t want to provide the processors for those I am sure Samsung will be happy to make its own or may use a company like¬†Huawei or Broadcom,¬†both of whom have¬†already signed¬†agreements with ARM to license the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture.

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