Upcoming Samsung Galaxy products to gain 64-bit processors, says CEO

Daniel Bader

September 12, 2013 10:11am

Not one to be left out of the fun, Samsung’s head of mobile, JK Shin, explained that future Galaxy-branded devices will have 64-bit chips not dissimilar to the A7 found in the iPhone 5S.

Apple announced on Tuesday that the iPhone 5S will be the first mobile device to ship with a 64-bit CPU and instruction set, explaining that it adds a significant amount of processing headroom to the platform. Developers will be able to optimize their apps for the 64-bit chip in Xcode, but it’s not clear whether the same will be necessary on Android.

Samsung derives its chips from two places: its own Exynos solution, which has recently adopted ARM’s Cortex-A15 chipset and, using big.LITTLE, added four Cortex-A7 chips for low-power use; and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset, which is a variation of ARM’s flagship line with energy optimizations and, in many cases, a built-in baseband. It’s not clear whether Shin is talking about Samsung’s Exynos or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon going 64-bit first, but there is reason to believe it’s the former. End users likely won’t notice the benefit of that expanded pipe for some time, but as Android devices approach 4GB of RAM, such chips will become necessary.

Shin intimated that the changeover may not happen for a while, but we’ll likely see 64-bit chips in the next year.

  • Joseph Cacoilo

    Monkey see monkey do I guess. Nice to see phones evolving.

    • jroc

      The whole timing of the announcement reeks of a “me too!” mentality.

      I can sort of see a point to them using it since they’re creeping up on 4GBs of RAM already, but is android not a 32 bit OS? Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t a 32 bit OS running on a 64 bit chip still be limited to the 2^32 byte issue, rendering it just as useless (RAM-wise) as it is in the iPhone 5s?

    • Blaktron

      Yeah, but it wouldn’t be hard to just grab a 64bit kernel and compile core libraries using that.

    • omegajimes

      Android runs on a Linux kernal and Linux has been long mode 64 bit since 2001. All it would takes is maybe a few weeks of tweaking to get 64 bit Android.

    • danbob999

      Plus java applications (ie most apps in the play store) wouldn’t need to be recompiled, only the OS and the java VM.

    • S2556

      Also Kitkat is coming soon which may include 64 bit for all we know.

  • danbob999

    The Galaxy Note 3 already have 3GB RAM so yeah, it was expected that next year devices will be 64 bit, Apple or not.

  • Yulet

    Apple will sue Samsung because only Apple can have 64-bit chips in their phones, it’s their innovation!!!!!

    • Emily Nelson

      Nice try, if that were the case a lot of phone companies would have been sued already. Companies take something, and tweak it just a tad to make it their “own”. Agreed highly on the monkey see monkey do comment though.

    • hyperhyper

      As for the monkey see, monkey do – are you willing to admit Apple is also guilty of it? If you need a reference for what I am talking about, let me give you a sampling from Apple’s latest phone.

      -Colours for iPhone 5c (Nokia Lumia)
      -iOS pulling features and design elements from Android & Windows phone
      -Image stabilization in the camera (albeit digital)
      -Polycarbonate case for the 5c
      -Fingerprint scanning (Motorola Atrix had it a long time ago)
      -Dedicated low power chip for secondary functions

    • Yulet

      Go to Google and write “what is sarcasm?” then press “Search”

    • Emily Nelson

      Google “Manners” :)

      And hyperhyper – All phone companies are guilty of it just the way it works. Each phone company takes an idea from some other product and ‘expands’ on it.
      It’s funny to see how many people are getting bent out of shape over Apple switching their iOS system. Rather amusing!

  • sigsegv0x0b

    This has nothing to do with class. The next generation ARM chip is 64-bit so all new phones out next year based around Cortex A57/53 combination will be 64-bit. iPhone 5S is based around this chip also so Apple claimed it’s 64-bit.

    This isn’t apples innovation they simply released the phone on the next ARM processor and apple being apple claimed it’s their innovation so when everyone else stats using this chip next year in their phones every can say they’re copying apple while infact this is nothing more then simply going with next generation processor from a third party which everyone uses.

    • It’s Me

      You know for a fact that the A7 is based around the Cortex A57/53? AFAIK Apple is one of 3 companies (Qualcomm and and other I can’t remember) that have the right license to fully design their own CPUs based on the ARM specs and not just to tweak existing reference designs (as Samsung has). i.e. Apple doesn’t have to be tied, at all, to a specific Cortex version.

      Apple was able to get to 64 bit first because they don’t have to wait for ARM to do the reference design first and because the own the software stack so they can develop that side in conjunction with the hardware side. Samsung has neither of those capabilities. Aside from that, no they didn’t claim 64 bit as their innovation, just that they were the first.

    • Lumbar Jack

      3? Try at least 8. StrongARM, Faraday, XScale, Sheeva, Snapdragon, A6/A7, X-Gene, and Denver.

      And that’s not even counting stuff like AMD’s ARM chips.

    • It’s Me

      Umm, some of those are CPU families not companies with an ARM design license. StrongARM was DEC until bought by Intel, XScale is by Marvel, (and Intel before that), Sheeva is also by Marvell, Snapdragon is Qualcomm, who I mentioned. Denver is Nvidia, A6 and A7 are reference designs (AFAIK) and X-Gene is Applied Micro.

      You are right though, there are more than 3, my mistake. My point was that within the mobile space, Apple’s competitor’s do not have that level of license and so must wait on others to do their design work for them. I had once read that Samsung was considering a license but I never heard if that went forward.

    • danbob999

      They have a higher level of license.

    • It’s Me

      heh. Sorry, no.

    • sigsegv0x0b

      And they were not the first Motorola Razr I had the Intel Z2460 which is 64-bit a year before iPhone 5S.

    • It’s Me

      Was the OS also 64 bit?

    • sigsegv0x0b

      Does it matter? x86 runs 32 and 64 bit code at the same speed and the phone has 1gb of ram. So the question was the os 32bit is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Apple was not first.

      Also Android apps are bytecode executed by dalvik jit so even the question of it being 64 bit is mostly irrelevant.

    • It’s Me

      Unless you are running some sort of VM, how are you going to run 64 bit apps on a 32 OS, even if the CPU is 64 bit?

    • sigsegv0x0b

      Android apps are running in a VM. They are bytecode running on Dalvik which is a JIT. it’s also possible to write native apps using NDK but unless you really need it it’s discouraged.

    • It’s Me

      I’m not going to be dogmatic on this, but if Dalvik itself isn’t 64 bit then that still implies 32bit ops on a 32 bit OS.

    • sigsegv0x0b

      Semantics… The fact is that Apple isn’t the first to release a 64bit phone. Actually Apple still didn’t release it yet. But phones with 64-bit cpus have been out in the wild for a long time.

      The argument of 32-bit and 64-bit is entirely irrelevant especially on x86 where the only value of 64-bit is extra ram usage which is a downside unless you have more then 4GB of ram.

    • danbob999

      The license to “fully design” (use only the instruction set) is a subset (less expensive) than the license to manufacture Cortex processors.
      Samsung, TI and Nvidia are free not to use Cortex design if they don’t want to.

    • It’s Me

      Not quite.

      Apple has an Architectural license from Arm. Samsung does not.

      Samsung has a license to (a) use ARM designed cores and (b) to fab these chips. On the other hand, Apple has license to (a) design their own CPUs around based on the ARM instruction set (architectural license) and (b) use ARM designed cores.

      The differences then are that Apple may design their own cores while Samsung may not and Samsung may fabricate ARM based chips while Apple may not. They can both develop custom chips based on release ARM core designs (and both have, but after the A4/A5 Apple moved to designing their own cores entirely). Apple does not need be their own fab, as TSMC (and intel?) and Samsung are more than capable of doing this for them. There was some talk about Apple acquiring a fab license to work with Intel, but I don’t know where those discussions went.

    • danbob999

      Apple pay less to ARM for each CPU produced than Samsung, because they uses less of their IP. Apple is like Qualcom. They licensense only the ISA, and pay someone else to do the fabrication. I understand that perfectly.

      Apple also had a license to do Cortex CPUs because that’s what they used in the past. But they no longer use it since they design their own swift CPUs while licensing only the ISA from ARM. So it’s different kind of licensing. It’s not a “higher” type of license. It’s a cheaper one.

    • It’s Me

      It’s “higher” in that it is a more involved license. Having a license to fab and sell pre designed cores is not on the same level as having one that allows you to completely design your own cores.

      You may not like the term “higher”, and that’s fine, ignore it. Apple’s license allows the the greatest flexibility when designing a CPU because they are allowed to design it in whichever direction the choose. Others must simply use what is provided to them and try to improve where they can.

  • rjmlive

    64bit is the new “retina”.

    • hyperhyper

      Too true. Funny though, Jobs hated tech jargon going to users. I’m surprised Apple didn’t call it something like “Quantum Driven Processors”.

    • Plazmic Flame

      64-Bit Retina*

      * = Coming Soon

  • bradenn

    64 bit serves no use till you have 4gig of ram, so Apple has has used a chip that can’t be utilized. Samsung is almost there with 3 gig of ram. Why would you put in a 64bit chip if it can’t be used, just so you can say you did it first?

    • It’s Me

      Umm, best not to speak about something you don’t know about. Accessing more memory is the main advantage but there are others. Like performance of large operations. You know, like being able to quickly decode a fingerprint sensor or handle graphics better and faster.

    • Lumbar Jack

      If you need to use 64 bit numbers in order to use a fingerprint scanner, then it is a poorly designed fingerprint scanner.

      Also, a 64 bit CPU has nothing to do with the graphics performance, which will be dictated almost entirely by the GPU.

    • It’s Me

      Again, best not to speak if you don’t know.

      Obviously a fingerprint scanner can work with 32 bit, as can other encoding and decoding functions. But it is faster on 64 bit. And if you don’t think register size and number make a difference in graphics performance, you’re just out to lunch.

  • Samuel Gomez Recuero

    Yup, Samsung might be the second one on the 64bit run, but I make more sense to put the chip out when it will actually be needed (devices with 4GB of ram) rather than just making them now just for the cheer factor of saying that our memory bandwidth is bigger. If you do it right on the 32bit chips there is no need for that below the 4GB mark. Sure game developpers will have a wider path to with access memory but the real advantage will be when devices actually get there.

  • Stu Pid

    LOL why? There’s no need for 64bit yet, only reason they’re doing this is because of the iPhone 5S/C. Most phones has a max memory of 1GB (in exeption of the Samsung Note 3), 64bit OS and apps will consume more memory than 32bit would, meaning you would run into low memory issues sooner and wouldn’t be able to have as many things open, I regularly switch between Play store, Seesmic, Handcent SMS, Chrome, IM+ Pro and sometimes Maps all at once- with 64bit OS the OS would probably close IM+ and maybe Chrome when it starts getting low on memory.

    32bit is already capable of taking advantage of 4GB memory through Large Address Aware, modern games and production programs already has these enabled on PC.

    Android is a Linux based OS, it can go 64bit effortlessly with the kernel, of course the backend and apps would need to be recompiled.

    iOS is a closed OS, once it goes 64bit, everything will need to be 64bit (hence why they said app devs will need to do it).

    • It’s Me

      WTF are you talking about?

      A) No, once iOS goes 64 bit everything else will not need to be 64 bit. 64 bit OSes are more than capable of running 32 bit apps. Devs can recompile if the would like to take advantage of the benefits of 64 bit.
      B) Android is indeed Linux and iOS is BSD UNIX. Both are able to go 64 bit.
      C) Amount of memory that can be addressed is only one advantage of 64 bit (and the main one) but the larger and more numerous registers means that the CPU can access more instructions at a time, up to twice as many just from the registers being twice as large. This benefits apps the do encoding or decoding or have to handle large graphics.

      The real LOL is you trying to talk about something that seems well beyond your understanding,

    • Stu Pid

      Right, I come from a background of using and working on Sparc and DEC Alpha systems… RISC machines from the 90’s that were 64bit, look em up.

    • It’s Me

      Umm, duh. How does that explain your inaccuracies and misstatements?

  • a1a2a3

    samsung is pathetic

  • Will Maitner

    And Samsung tries to steal the ball…..

  • Zee

    I have no idea why people are saying this is another case of Samsung deciding to “copy” Apple. What processors did you expect them to use in future years, 16-bit?

    • It’s Me

      Well, they are still using the now legacy Cortex A9 design, so it isn’t like like they are known for being cutting edge with CPU design.

    • Zomby2D

      Actually they’re currently using the Cortex A15 desing. ;)

    • Plazmic Flame

      Like someone said above, it’s the timing of the announcement.

    • Zee

      Also has to do with marketing, Apple announces 64-bit, tech writers talk about how they’re the only company offering 64-bit mobile phones so Samsung has to get into that conversation as well. I’ve seen more than one article about how people were “surprised” that Apple made a tech-leap to 64-bit before anyone else.

    • HelloCDN

      Well, then someone in PR department should receive a stern reprimand. The timing of this announcement is horrible, and just reinforces the image of Samsung being a “re-active” company.

  • hyperhyper

    Too bad to see Samsung announce this so close to the Apple announcement as it does strike me as a reactionary comment but I’m guessing they have to say it to quell any question investors have about the future of chips in Samsung products.

    Although Apple is no better with all the vast majority of their ‘new’ features (64 bit chip and fingerprint to purchase aside) being implemented just to keep up with existing technology and features found in other smartphones.

    • Zomby2D

      Tech blogs talk about how Apple has made the move to the Core A50 ARMv8 design, Samsung is currently building it’s next generation SoC on the same licensed design, so naturally they’re announcing it to calm the shareholders who are worried about Samsung slipping behind.
      Slides from an AMD presentation have been revealed a couple days ago showing that they’re also planning a ARMv8 64-bit mobile chipset next year, so while Apple was the first to announce a device boasting it, every other manufacturer was already moving toward this new design anyway.

  • Matt

    Who do you think manufactures the A7 processor?? Samsung…

    • p_lindsay

      Is that confirmed? There was a lot of talk of Apple switching to tsmc.

    • danbob999

      if they did, we’d know

    • realitycheck

      Its business…… they get PAID to do it. I dont see how you’re playing that as a plus for Samsung.

  • p_lindsay

    They will also come with fingerprint scanners and be available in 5 bright colours.

  • jonnny

    argh. i dont want a 64 bit processor. I WANT A BETTER BATTERY!!!

  • HelloCDN

    What about fingerprint scanner? :)

    • Zomby2D

      It was done 4 years ago by Motorola, and turned out to be something consumers didn’t want. Of course, now that the all mighty Apple has done it everyone will want one on their phone, until the fad has passed.

    • HelloCDN

      So you’re blaming Apple for Motorola’s failure to promote their feature?

    • realitycheck

      it was GARBAGE on Motorola. I wish people would stop throwing that out there.

  • BetelgeuseOrion

    huawei had a 64bit phone last year

  • Kevin

    Nerd wars or what? Who gives a flack. Just buy the phone you like and stop worrying about me first. Me too and stop whining. Most people who are branded don’t care who is who. You sound so lame.

  • Gabriel

    Didn’t Samsung already have their event? Now they look like the kid nobody asked to the dance. Lol

  • Gabriel

    Their Smart watch made them look like the guy that came to the party 2 hours early with a veggie tray and a six pack of non alcoholic beer. Sit down Samsung let apple show you how it’s done!