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Future Samsung phones will have 64-bit CPUs too, says CEO

Hot on the heels of the announcement of Apple's iPhone 5s (opens in new tab), which sports a fancy new 64-bit A7 CPU, Samsung boss JK Shin has told the Korean press that its future handsets will also include 64-bit number-crunching capabilities. Speaking with the Korea Times, the Samsung co-CEO confirmed that "our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality," but added that these devices would not be arriving "in the shortest time." It's no secret that mobile chip giant ARM has 64-bit architectures in the pipeline, so it's possible that a Galaxy S5 might be one of the first Android devices to implement this technology.

In the same interview, Shin acknowledged that Apple was seeking to expand its mobile reach further into China and Japan with the iPhone 5s and 5c, saying that Samsung too should "try harder" in these countries. These efforts reportedly include a separate Chinese launch event for the upcoming Galaxy Note 3.

Source: Korea Times (opens in new tab); via: Engadget (opens in new tab)

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Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

  • Hmm.. Smartphones keep getting awesome day by day :) but what exactly does a 64-bit chip do?
  • Well they'll be required by the year 2038... Google 2038 bug But really, they can process faster, provided you give it enough RAM
  • You do not need a 64-bit processor to address the 2038 bug. Although 64-bit data is required for date/time calculation beyond 2038, this can be done on any-bit processor. Even and 8-bit CPU can handle this.
    Secondly, 64-bit does not equal faster unless your your app needs to address more than 4 GB, and the device actually has more than 4 GB RAM. I'm having a hard time envisioning any phone app that that would require such. Even desktop PC's rarely need 64-bit, usually only high-end engineering simulation/analysis and some high-end gaming.
  • You've obviously not read or compared much lately. It isn't just isolated to Linux, as many/most Microsoft products are faster on 64 bit systems. It isn't just about how much RAM the CPU can address, but how much data it can process at one time.
  • Technically apps will also run faster if they do a lot of 64-bit processing.
    That said, with games all being 32-bit this is not going to matter much, games are usually the most CPU intensive applications on phones. Posted via Android Central App
  • Because there is no way on Earth that we could change the way dates are handled on 32 bit POSIX systems given the tight 25yr deadline. And no, we cannot just say "I don't care! I'll be dead in 25 years anyway!". We have to face it, somehow No matter how distasteful and painful it may be. And no matter how stupid we have to look standing on stage promoting 64 bit as a reason to by a particular phone instead of another today. ANd despite how silly we may feel pushing stupid marketing tricks at the unwashed masses. The Y2k+38.something problem *must* be resolved. Before it's too late. And if all those 64 bit pointers waste our memory now... so be it. Of course, in just 5 to 10 year's time, mobile software will be wasteful and gluttonous enough that the upcoming Galaxy Note 3's 3GB of RAM will be insufficient to run "Hello World". When I think of what was accomplished with the 8 bit 6502 in my Apple ][+ and it's maxed out 16k of RAM, and compare it with today... I can only shake my head in sorrow.
  • They can read more than 4gb of ram. That is all. Posted via Android Central App
  • Why does everyone keep saying that it needs 4 gigs of ram to matter? That's hardly true. It needs a 64 bit os and programs. A by product is that 64bit is compatible with larger ram amounts. 64bit can process 64bit chunks of data at a time vs 32bit. This could be exponentially faster, especially for heavy computing; such as decoding.
  • THANK YOU! I get so @#$% fed up with people saying that RAM is the only benefit to a 64 bit processor. I honestly think the coolest thing to take away from this is that if they are announcing 64 bit processors for their phones, then the Android OS must be close to supporting the 64 bit architecture. I'm looking forward to the performance gains it will bring us irregardless of extra RAM (of course that is a happy side effect).
  • Actually, larger memory capability is the advantage 64 bit. 2^64 is a large enough number that most of the upper area in the registers is wasted, and you're left with nothing but memory wasting 64 bit pointers in the software which are all zeros in the higher order bits. 64 bit is an impediment until and unless you actually *need* and *have* the extra memory. Not sure about ARM. But in the X86/X86_64 world, there is some small advantage to using the X86_64 instruction set, because it allows for more processor registers to be used by the compiler for optimization. But even there, the difference is slight. Typically ~15% for processor bound tasks. Barely enough to notice. And offset by the memory wasted by the 64 bit environment. It's like progressive income tax rates. You really don't want to incur the penalty of 64 bit until your wealth in RAM forces you to incur it.
  • You do realize 15% gain for the same amount of CPU cycles is huge when looking at battery life in mobile devices, right?
  • I certainly wouldn't call it "exponentially" faster! It literally doubles your memory bandwidth and with optimized "64bit" OS and applications you would see a performance improvement maybe up to 50% on equivalent hardware. The other thing that needs to be considered is that with a 64bit CPU and OS any 32bit apps will no longer run natively which will have a performance cost for such apps.
  • Source? Posted via Android Central App
  • Some processes can benefit from an 64-bit chip, mainly when they need to hanle much data or crunch big numbers, e.g. encryption, video en/decoding, scientific calculations ... I think it won't be very noticable in smartphones. Apple said they doubled the trasistor count in the new A7 chip ... thats probably where most of the speed improvements come from.
  • Actually media encoding/decoding uses mostly integer arithmetic, not floating point.
  • Currently, they just make a nice bullet point for sales glossies, and run binaries that eat up more memory for no good reason. (64 vs 32 bit pointers) At current memory levels of 1, 2, or 3GB, 64bit just eats extra memory and slows things down. It's marketing fluff. 64 bit will become necessary as the RAM amounts on phones increase.
  • Shocker! I expected them to go towards 16-bit chips...
  • Don't they need at least 4 GB of RAM or greater to have an effect? All the talk about Iphones having 64 bit processors, dismisses it as a gimmick, Will they also have less unremovable dross on the phones and more user space as well?
  • The move from 32-bit to 64-bit x86 allowed for more native programming registers, which allowed them to juggle more bits at a time. If Apple is to be believed, they doubled the number of registers in the A7 (as well as extended them from 32-bit to 64-bit), so it too can juggle more bits at a time.
  • From what I'm getting out of the articles, it allows the developers to develop 64-bit apps, which does just about nothing on mobile platforms...
  • On android most things are dalvik bytecode so will become 64bit automatically without even a recompile (on iOS apps will need to be recompiled specially) Whether that really makes a difference for most apps.. I doubt it. Maybe if you're encoding video in your phone... Posted via Android Central App
  • Man- android has it easy Posted via Android Central App
  • Too bad the Edge didn't get funded :( That would have been an awesome phone and I'm sure it would have left any 5s or S5 far behind :D
  • 64bits actually makes more sense for Samsung already at 3GB RAM in some of their phones, than the iPhone with probably much below the 32bit limit of 4GB.
  • I'm asuming the iphone 5s has more than 4gb of ram then? Otherwise what's the point. Posted via Android Central App
  • It likely has 1GB the point is marketing. Did you forget who you are taking about here? Apple is the biggest marketing "hype" company on the planet.
  • And Samsung Nokia HTC RIM aren't? What company out there isn't hype? They are all hype. That's their main business. Hype creates excitement which then could transfer into sales.
  • The ram hasn't been announced yet. Typical Apple Posted via The Android Central App
  • That's because there is likely no change and nothing to hype up.
  • No, you're wrong there. They'll probably spend millions marketing the "First phone with RAM." Thus, sending their legions of fan-boys into a frenzy over this apparently new technology.
  • I believe the Ascend D1 by Huawei had 64 processing, although the phone disappeared form the spotlight long before it's eventual release.
    (in case anyone came here thinking Apple did it first).
  • that one had 64bit memory, i thought it was too so when i heard the announcement by apple i was a little on the reverse, but after looking into it they seem to be the first there. As mentioned it isn't doing them any good as no one is coding in 64 bit yet and applies mostly to games
  • "Apple is smart to lay the foundations for 64-bit mobile computing now, for three reasons. First, large memory capacity is an academic issue in the mobile market today, but it won't always be. Second, the 64-bit transition happens to come along with other chip changes that are useful immediately. And third, it gives Apple more flexibility to build ARM-based PCs if it chooses to embrace an alternative to Intel chips."
  • Yawn. This will make about as much difference as adding many more 100% idle cores...
  • Herpaderp. And so the 64bit stupidloution begins because apple did it. 64bit is going to have a next to nothing effect to our phones.
  • They won't be of any use until there's a 64bit version of Android and even after that the need for them is debatable.
  • "... And blackjack!... and hookers! #HOLOYOLO
  • They need to pack more RAM so that they can get the most out of that chip. I'm loving the direction Samsung is taking. Let's see if other Android OEMs follow suit.
  • Oh, that Samsung, always copying Apple.* I smell another lawsuit. * not really, this is a poor joke.
  • With Apple inventing 64-bit computing...the intellectual property has to be fought for in court. Apple will preemptively sue Samsung and Google for future phones. /sarcasm Ehh this is all gimmicky nonsense. You can just look back at the evolution of desktop PCs processors and mobile is following along the same path. No one is going to notice a thing with x64 vs x86. I still can't believe how much they are charging for the 5c. Baffling to me their lack of interest in growing their market share, especially in emerging markets.
  • It's inevitable for all computing to go to 64bit and beyond. Apple simply pulled the trigger sooner then later because they needed some type of wow factor for marketing. Smartphones are just computers so if anyone is following it's Apple following Unix, Linux, and Microsoft as they all have been doing it for a long time. The reality is that it really does not make much sense on a smartphone but Apple marketing will lead you to believe otherwise...
  • It doesn't make sense on a phone, but Samsung is going to do it? Man, aren't Apple and Samsung dummies! /s
  • This is exactly what I was thinking. If 64 bit is such a total waste then why wouldn't Samsung say it is a total waste and we are not going in that direction? They said the exact opposite. iSheep / Fandroids - you are all the same.
  • I'm looking forward to true compute power. Posted via Android Central App
  • Hardware leads software. And the OS leads applications. That's just the way it is. Now developers can start deciding what they want to do with 64 bit now that it's available. It's no different than what happened on desktop. x86 CPUs were 64 bit before Windows was. Windows brought out a 64 bit version of XP. By the time Windows 7 was released, more developers had applications that took advantage of 64 bit, but it still isn't universal. There are still plenty of 32 but apps out there today and we've gone from XP Professional x64 to Vista to Windows 7, and now Windows 8. I have a desktop at work that is Windows 7 Enterprise 64 bit and a laptop that is Windows 7 Enterprise 32 bit. My laptop is my primary PC. We heard the same thing in the desktop world that we're discussing here. I was at an Intel conference where the Microsoft rep was actually poking fun at XP Professional x64 when it was new. He said "it's got more bits!" Even he said it fills niche markets and sets the path to mainstream adoption. I remember when we had 16 bit computing. Don't worry, we'll get to 128 bit eventually, and we can talk about this all over again. It's not wrong to do it just because there isn't a pressing need today. I wish they'd use that train of thought when they build roads and highways. Posted via Android Central App
  • Here is a prediction...all new top end smart phones will eventually have 65 bit processors.
  • Numbers not divisible by 8 are not allowed in discussions about computers ;P
  • Does this mean they will make new versions of their phones twice as fast?
  • It really is all marketing. Yes, 64bit is necessary to address greater than 4GB of RAM, and yes the processor can theoretically process a double-larger chunk of data in one go, where the equivalent 32bit would take 2 goes, but and this is a big BUT... where is the processor 64bits? Is it just in the memory pipes? Or is the core processing 64bits. If the core was 64bits then it only matters IF IO7 is also 64bits. Otherwise, you are still only processing 32Bit chunks of data. 64bits has largely been marketing speak since the days of Itanium. But most systems still run primarily 32bit code that has been up compiled to 64bit, or is just being run natively at 32. Unless IOS7 has truly been ported to 64bits (read, fork'd) then it is still just a 32bit phone.
  • Except for PAE makes it possible to address more ram in 32 bit systems. Posted via Android Central App
  • This touches on something interesting I was talking to a friend about this weekend: Apple said in their announcement that iOS7 has been re-written to be 64-bit. But, wait... the 4s and 5c are still 32 bit SoC's. Does this mean that there are now (effectively) two different (current) versions of iOS(7)? And wouldn't that also mean that app developers now have to maintain *3* different versions of their apps? So... 3.5" and 4" screens, iPad and iPad Mini, and now 32-bit and 64-bit phones... That Android "fragmentation" argument might start looking more and more silly in the coming months.
  • OK someone correct me if I'm wrong since its been a while since the whole windows 32 vs 64 bit. I thought the only differences were some applications would be able to allocate more than 4gb of memory for themselves and that there would be a "slight" increase in performance for going 64bit over 32bit. Is this still correct or did Apple magically pull something off? Not to mention all the issues with your old 32 bit applications and games on windows that worked perfectly but did not ever get updated to 64bit and we were force to leave behind. Is this going to happen all over again on mobile, or will 32bit compatibility be built in?
  • Like many other has said above, assuming the OS and App are both expressly written to support 64-bit processing, then there will be a *slight* performance benefit, since more registers means the ability to crunch more data simultaneously. And, in theory, all of the existing 32-bit applications could run on the 64-bit processor. But, the CPU would (almost certainly) still address the RAM in 64-bits, meaning that all of those 32-bit apps would suddenly start eating twice as much memory.
  • The pace of development over the past 5-7 years, in the these pocket computers we carry, has been amazing. I do wonder if hardware or OS is today's limiting factor. It is only a few years ago I bought my first laptop with 4Gb and we are already talking about a phone with that on board - wow. Today I feel it is user understanding and knowledge that lags. WE are the biggest limiting factor. Even serious geeks are using a small proportion of the stunning capacity of the devices we own. Perhaps WE are the device requiring an upgrade path. Awesome A C
  • Apple will probably try and patent it for mobiles and sue anybody that decides to use it especially Samsung they always get harassed by Apple lawyers. Posted via Android Central App
  • I don't *think* that they could do that, since ARM (the chip that almost *all* of these mobile devices are based on, including the A7) announced their 64-bit processor designs earlier this year. I'm sure many other companies besides Samsung have been planning to release a 64-bit phone *eventually*. Apple just rushed to be first. Some have speculated that perhaps the 64-bit process was required for fast finger print recognition. Of course, many of those same people thought it might also be needed for the 120fps video, which I know is BS, since my Note 2 will do 240fps with a 32-bit chip.
  • Ha this reminds me of the stupid bit wars from the old video game consoles. Its a marketing scheme by Apple right now. You know, kind of like their new commercials stating facts with no evidence whatsoever. Posted via Android Central App