samsung exynos-5420

The new iPhone 5s features a 64-bit processor, which is impressive, but it will be years until the jump to the new architecture proves truly useful. Yes, the 64-bit A7 chip is a good early start in the next growth cycle and is generally faster that previous 32-bit chips, but the main benefit of having a 64-bit chip on the iPhone – having more than 4GB of RAM – will not come into effect for years.

Of course, drab reality shouldn’t get in the way of good marketing, which is why I can’t blame Apple for touting the virtues of the first ever “desktop-class” 64-bit mobile processor. And, because Apple now has a perceived advantage in this area (at least in the eyes of less tech savvy customers), I expect marketers in the Android camp to eagerly jump on the 64-bit bandwagon in the close future.

Samsung is the first: co-CEO JK Shin told the Korea Times that the world’s largest smartphone maker would release the first devices running on a 64-bit chip next year:

[quote qtext=”Not in the shortest time. But yes, our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality. ” qperson=”JK Shin” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

While from Shin’s statement, it may seem that Samsung is living up to its fast follower reputation, truth is the move to 64-bit architecture in 2014 has been planned for years and is in no way sudden nor surprising.

ARM released the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture in late 2011, and the British chip designer outlined its roadmap for the 64-bit A50 chips due in 2014 just days ahead of Apple’s event. In this context, the fact that Samsung, and other ARM licensees, will have 64-bit chips next year is not really newsworthy.

Samsung will probably offer a device with 4GB of RAM in 2014

There’s a big difference between Apple and Samsung, though. The Korean company already has devices with 3GB of RAM – the Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition – and is expected to offer a phone with 4GB of RAM sometime in 2014.

In other words, for Samsung, moving to 64-bit will have a substantial effect much sooner than in the case of Apple, which still uses 1GB of RAM on the iPhone.

Now for the big question – which Samsung device will be the first to feature a 64-bit chip? That depends on Google’s plans for 64-bit support in Android: 4.4 KitKat may or may not be the first version to support it.

That aside, analyzing Samsung’s cycles in both mobile devices and components, it seems likely that the first phone with a 64-bit processor will be the Galaxy Note 4. In my opinion, Samsung will stick with a 32-bit processor for the Galaxy S5, which is what JK Shin seems to imply when he says “not in the shortest time”.

Bogdan Petrovan
Bogdan is the European Managing Editor of Android Authority. He loves tech, travel, and fantasy. He wishes he had more time for two of those things. Bogdan's phone is a Nexus 6P.
  • APai

    Apple’s 64bit move is NOT innovation, it’s just hardware coming of age. if apple was so innovative, why couldn’t they start off with 64 bit computing on mobiles ?

    • APai’s master

      why couldn’t they have started off with 64bit? how old are u 6? were u born when apple released the 1st iphone? do u even remember how phones looked like back in the day before it? samsung and lg both had RESISTIVE touch screens how would u expect apple to release 64bit architecture chips when phones barely had ram above 64mb. freakin prick

      • RarestName


      • Nathan Borup

        Exactly what APai is saying… if they did 64-bit back then it would be truly innovative :P

        • APai

          LOL. exactly! he completely missed the point in his rage to *correct* someone else!

    • minipanda

      I prefer to regard Apple as pioneer, not innovator.
      mobile os will need transition to 64-bit eventually.

      I’m more interested to response from WP/BB10/Ubuntu/Firefox/Sailfish in regard of this 64-bit mobile os initiative.

      • They’ll say they’re first of course. And anyone else will be deemed a copy cat just you wait xD the apple fan boys are waiting.

  • Jack Parker

    Apple have no reason to put it in there other then to say that they have what we dont, but then again, we’ve got NFC, 720p/1080p screen 2gb of ram + and quad core processor running over the 2ghz barrier.

    In my opinion, lets stick to mobile processors because it is, in fact, a telephone for making calls and texting

    • Nathan Borup

      No, you don’t get it… 64-bit processors are still ARM processors, it just means MUCH faster performance. When apple said it was a “desktop architecture” they didn’t really mean that because it is obviously a mobile architecture. They meant similar speed to a desktop architecture. I don’t know about you, but i’m excited to see android make the jump… I am always up for more speed

    • Jusephe

      And we got a fingerprint sensor, the thinnest/lightest superphone in the world with a retina display one GB of LPDDR3 RAM + a dualcore processor running at around 1,5 Ghz while still runs circles around snapdragon 800.

      • APai

        wasn’t the 64bit computing part of ARM’s roadmap ? apple/ samsung or qualcomm licenses from ARM and builds the custom SoCs. I credit ARM for the development. the real fight is between intel and ARM as regards the processor technology. whereas, apple and samsung fight over the implementation of it.

        “running circles around snapdragon 800”
        where was apple when the snapdragon 6/800 was out since the last several months ? both of them have their time for a few months every year! and both claim to have victory while it lasts!

      • Jack Parker

        Thinnest and lightest? Look up the Huawei ascend P6..

      • Brian Shieh

        A snapdragon 800 eats the A7. Maybe the A7 might challenge the 600, but please, go on about the 1gb of RAM and its raw prowess.

      • Nathan Borup

        Don’t know if you noticed the stuttering in their demo of Blade infinity 3… the snapdragon 800 could do that with 2 of the 4 cores with NO stuttering. Besides, i wouldn’t say that having a 64-bit mobile processor is the best quite yet… it will have quite a few bugs and glitches until a second or even 3rd gen comes out

      • John

        Don’t trust a man who says “retina display” over pixel density.
        Don’t trust a man who boasts 1GB of RAM over 3GB (backwards math?).
        Don’t trust a man who says a dual-core 1.5GHz processor will beat a quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 SoC.
        Don’t trust, this man.

        • abazigal

          Honestly, I would take an iphone running 1gb of ram and a dual core processor over a Samsung phone which lags even with 3gb of ram and octa-core processor any day.

          • John

            Put iOS on a Samsung and it’ll be much faster. Android is a bit laggy.

          • hohopig

            :P question is .. did you EVEN tried a top tier SAmsung phone and it lag in normal use? :P

  • Apple fans right now are proud that the iphone 5s is the first 64 bit smartphone. Congrats on that. Is it innovation? Imo no, it is just an introduction. The question that matters is why did apple do it? To introduce the technology- Ok but I think their purpose was to establish a “we had it first mentality” thus creating a sense of innovation for those who aren’t up to date with technology. I bet the fan base will not give arm credit. Lol we knew 64 chips were coming in 2014 as announced by arm in 2012. Apple used arm’s architecture. It’s great that this will give support for 64 bit processors sooner but the intent of apple is what I question. Anyway I just need to post this. Anyone can agree disagree with me.

    • Roberto Tomás

      that’s kinda true, yea. But the processor they released is powerful and deserves to be recognized for that on its own.

      • Yup. It’s powerful indeed no denying that.

        • Collin dubya

          its apple just “adding technology for technology’s sake”

          • facepalm

            I do not know, but I have something smart to say…you rock!

          • abazigal

            This is Apple we are talking about. They never add technology just for “technology’s sake”.

          • Collin dubya

            sure they do, Tell me exactly what the 64 bit processor is going to do for the iphone 5s user that the iphone 5 won’t do for it’s users. nothing right now.. it doesn’t use more than 4gb of ram, it doesn’t use convergence through a docking device.. it’s clearly just for bragging rights..

            you want to see a phone that actually utilizes 64 bit architecture wait for the next gen of samsung devices that have already been confirmed.

          • Eric Zingeler

            Well, I would think the realtime photo processing of the iPhone 5s probably benefits from 64-bit.

            Large calculations on a 64-bit processor could require less cycles to complete.

            The photo processing on the 5s does some pretty advanced stuff from what I gathered from the keynote.

          • Collin dubya

            just like apple is doing right now, except while doing it they went and called out their competition for the same thing, Also they are actually trying to resell people the same shitty 8mp sensor again but for more, with a new flash?? ooooooh. all the isheep will gobble it up .


            You really are a no-nothing-winkle-bag Collin (by the way Colin is spelt with one L).

            You know nothing about 64-bit computing and its uses in the areas of graphics, video and complex mathmatical processes.

            You know nothing about photography.

            I do agree that 64-bit will help Samsung reduce the laggy response on their tablets and phones.

            For people who hate Apple for no other reason than you can’t afford their products, you spend a lot of time misinterprating everything Apple do.

            I am guessing you work in an IT department on XP.

            Android Kit-Kat will be followed by 64-bit HatoRoid, no apps because 95% of apps are pirated and developers can’t earn a cent from Google Play.

          • abazigal

            I will be waiting, and I won’t be holding my breath. We have no idea when Android or app developers will start supporting 64-bit, so should Samsung implement it in the near future, it will really be the textbook case of “hardware bloat”.

          • hohopig

            as opposed to iFruity’s adding of 64 bit as an example of future proofing a phone which have NO upgrade path?

          • bitchslapped

            bitches say ‘adding technology for technologies sake’


    • abazigal

      I don’t see it as innovation, but rather, simply paving the way so they can do more things with IOS.

      Currently, I see a few hurdles (correct me if I am wrong; I am no engineer or techie). The OS must be retooled to support 64-bit architecture. IOS7 should. Android currently doesn’t. If I recall correctly, the Galaxy S2 launched with a dual-core processor, running Gingerbread (which supported only single-core?). So it could just as easily be another meaningless spec bloat on Samsung’s part.

      Likewise, any new Android release likely faces the same problem – actually successfully finding its way to the end user. So unlike IOS, it can easily be another few years before there are enough users on a 64-bit version of Android to make it economically viable for app developers to consider porting their apps over.

      Next, you need app developers to jump on board. Apple has historically shown that they have little problems migrating across platforms, or “persuading” developers to redesign their apps when necessary.

      All in all, while 64-bit computing is certainly not unique to Apple, I feel that Apple is better-positioned to take advantage of this in the short-to-medium term, exactly because of its closed ecosystem and vertical integration. Because Apple controls everything, they are able to better ensure that everyone is in place.

      • Fragmentation xD Android’s hurdle in 64bit. Software optimization is key in utilizing cores. That’s why performance boost was seen when it was updated. I’m no techie too don’t worry. I just keep myself up to date. To take advantage of 64 bit truly, yes the os must be reworked as well as apps as I understand. Apple can push it faster in regards to its ecosystem since it only has a few models. Developers I think are not yet open to the idea of coding their apps again to make use of 64 bit. Anyways we don’t know the future. I see your point that apple may have done it for its future but let’s wait and see. Who knows google may have a secret up its sleeves. XD

    • achicago104

      It’s something no one has done before, and will allow expand the limits of what can be done on a smartphone.

      if that’s not “innovation” what is?? innovation means something new that fourther’s progress. this is exactly that. it won’t be useful on day 1, but the programs will get there.

      not a reason to run and buy an iPhone 5s next week, but i don’t see how anyone can say with a straight face it is not innovation.

      • Innovation is the introduction of something useful. At this point of time, 64 bit is not as useful as it should be. So it is introduced for the sake of it. Like what collin said. It would have been innovative if they developed it first before releasing it. Imo, they released it earlier so that they’ll claim the title to be first and make its fan base rave about it. I can see it now, apple fan boys will say in the future 64 bit mobile cpus is apple’s ideas and solely theirs and they’ll say everyone else who introduces it is a copy cat.

        • achicago104

          “useful” is not in fact part of the actual definition. Look it up.

          It’s clear that continuing this discussion is pointless. You’re anti-Apple and I won’t change your mind.

          • David Loman

            You are in an Android website and you’re trying to make us understand why Apple is innovating? You won’t change anyone’s mind kid. Get out of here and go to your iKinderground

          • Go tell yourself that. Yup the dictionary says so right? So what’s the point of innovation if it doesn’t need to be useful? Innovation makes things better am I wrong? Call me a hater all you want.

          • meliorist

            Apple haven’t invented the 64-bit processor. They’ve merely implemented the 64-bit architecture developed by ARM. If you want to call that “innovation”, we’ll let you, as long as you also admit that it is merely a gimmick. (If you feel like looking up the precise definition of “gimmick” in the dictionary or Wikipedia, please be my guest.)

      • hohopig

        :P It is just that no one has ADOPTED it. You do know that iFruity actually license the tech from ARM and this is in fact not a new tech at all? It is based on the v8 architecture announced by ARM in late 2011 and the actual chip was unveiled by ARM in late 2012.

    • facepalm

      Who said that it is an innovation? Apple? No. So, what is your point? I recommend you google around for “64 bits vs 32 bits” if you cannot figure out the reason. Proud of 64 bits? Give me a break…

      • hohopig

        :P well iFruity’s certainly did when they tried to position it as such an unique tech when this was based on the v8 architecture that was actually announced by ARM in late 2011. And when they claim that NO OTHER oem are even talking about it. :P

  • Roberto Tomás

    Will Samsung have a use for a 64 bit phone once they hit 4GB RAM? No, it takes more than 4 GB of RAM for it to make a difference there. Are there CPU-bound processing tasks that mobile phones use that are very data/media heavy? Typically, these have all been optimized onto the GPU which is much better suited at handling them in 32 bit… so I don’t really se a reason for that either. In servers 64bit has an immediate use, but we’re picking up the design as consumers just because ARM wants in on the server market, IMHO.

    Samsung’s 64 bit design will *have* to be on 20nm, though. It is nice that we’re seeing a guarantee to migrate to 20nm in 2014. :)

  • Nathan Borup

    I would just like to point out… the main benefit to the switch to 64-bit is not “having more than 4GB of RAM.” Try, having a processor that can complete more instructions faster… much faster. It means more registers for completing calculations. The switch to 64-bit means SPEED, not memory

    • Jusephe

      Actually jump to 64-bit contributes to total 2x speed claim but the real dealbreaker is the new ARMv8 architecture around which A7 is build.

      • APai

        “Actually jump to 64-bit contributes to total 2x speed claim”
        I think “claim” is the operative word. Like sometime back, when the desktop cpu tech moved on from the 32bit to x86 + 64bit instruction set originally introduced by AMD. the difference was nowhere close to the 2x claim. it was in most parts like 20% to begin with, applications that were optimized and rewritten were like 30-40% better in performance, not a 100% improvement. I’d assume this to be a similar performance here ?

    • icyrock1

      THIS. 64-bit isn’t used just for the ability to have more RAM. It allows more accurate (and complex) calculations.

  • Balraj

    How much performance improvement can you expect from cpu & gpu from 64 bit snapdragon processor with respect to snapdragon 800???

    • Magnetic1

      That’s not a fair comparison, because Snapdragon is already the leader in android soc today. And only Q will know that answer silly.

      • Balraj

        Relax dude
        Ik 64 bit processor is powerful than snapdragon 800
        I just want to know by how much…maybe AA will do benchmark comparison between 800 & a7

        • John

          You don’t make sense. 64 bit is system architecture not “power.” You have to be more specific. 64-bit with 4GB RAM or 8GB? 64-bit with 3.2GHz speed or 2.6GHz? 64-bit doesn’t have a set speed or power. It alternates depending on the processor.

          • Balraj

            God…Dude 64 bit processor doubles computing process..
            Didn’t you see ppl speaking about a7..It’s definitely powerful..than any other on the market.I just want to know where lg g2 stands against iPhone 5s in power n performance..Samsung galaxy s5 will have 64bit…64bit addresses 4gb ram issue but it doesn’t mean that it can’t run on lesser ram n still give performance…btw most mobile devices run on arm…

  • Magnetic1

    How come no one mentions virtual mode when talking about 64bit? I want to run a lot of things on smart devices if the technology allows for it.

  • jamesinkorea

    The iPhone still revolves around iTunes and no 64-bit processor is going to change that restrictive, bloated, locked-down POS software that makes users jump through hoop after hoop to do even the simplest of tasks.

  • Eric Zingeler

    “for Samsung, moving to 64-bit will have a substantial effect much sooner than in the case of Apple”

    Yes, this would be the case if the following are true:

    – android is a 64-bit OS

    – android api’s are 64-bit

    – the device needs more than 4GB of RAM

    – the only thing that makes 64-bit better is RAM

    As far as the last point. Maybe the author should do a little more reading and a little less writing:

    Basically, 64-bit has the ability reduce the amount of cycles required to complete an operation.

    Side note: iPhone 5 only needs 1GB of RAM because backgrounded apps are sent to a limited state with there RAM junk cached.

  • Charlie

    64 bit isn’t just a processor thing. You can put all the 64 bit processor you want in whatever device you like and turn it on. Unless it got the OS to run it, it wont do 64 bit. And then after that, you will need the apps to go 64 bit. And then after that you worry about 4GB RAM. I think this time, it’s going to be longer than 1 year for Android users to experience 64 bit. iPhone will have 64 bit app running, and even third party 64 bit Infinity Blade, shortly…

  • William Krapek

    I think this demonstrates a nutshell one of the major problems I have with Samsung and its Android offerings. Here we are, moving into the 64-bit era, and it’s obvious to me Samsung is going to just hack its way into it for the first couple of years. I call it their “smash and grab” strategy for reeling in the customers. I know this is an Android forum and I hate stirring up trouble, but I really get tired of seeing this. I don’t bring this up to brag as an Apple fanboy but I thought an outsider’s view would be helpful here.

    Apple is releasing 64-bit hardware now. Apple is releasing the 64-bit software now. Apple had the common sense to make sure it had the rights to custom build its own offerings acknowledged in its contracts with the ARM folks. Apple bested the ARM folks in the battle for 64-bits IN THEIR OWN BACKYARD. Apple is ready to play.

    And It seems like every professional technologist on the planet earth knew 64-bit was coming to phones – except for the professionals at Google who were writing the operating system.

    And the latter really need to fix Android’s security issues. If I were an Android supporter I be humiliated by that train wreck.

  • tech01xpert

    It seems most of the people here aren’t developers to any real degree. The big deal about Apple A7 is that it is the first 64 bit ARMv8 implementation. The issue isn’t just the 64 bit part, but the ARMv8 64 bit vs. ARMv7 32 bit part. ARMv8 32 bit has significant ISA improvements, and ARMv8 64 bit has even more potential power. This is not like going from 32 bit PowerPC to 64 bit PowerPC which really only has benefits with additional RAM. This is more like comparing 32 bit x86 vs. 64 bit x86-64 or better, 64 bit Itanium. The ISA change is the big thing.

    Of course, this does mean that code has to be updated to take advantage of the ARMv8 ISA change and for most developers, that’s an easy update in Xcode. Most actively developed apps will be 64 bit shortly because it’s easy. Further, if your app is 64 bit, you can then leverage the system frameworks that are 64 bit.

    Good thing for Android is that the Dalvik VM will isolate a lot of code from the particularities of 32 bit vs. 64 bit, so many apps won’t need a recompile at all to run on ARMv8 64 bit. However, it will be up to the new VM to get performance to match up against Apple’s stack and typically it has lagged. Code that hits native code will have to be recompiled of course.

    We also don’t know how good Apple A7 is versus a reference A53 or A57 ARM processor, or if the A7 is just a reference design that Apple managed to qualify and ship early. In either case, it looks like Apple will have the performance crown for a bit.

  • bitchslapped