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The War of 64 Bits Mobile Processor

By Chen Weizhe
Published: Mar 26,2014

Although iPhone did not try to attract users with advanced hardware specifications like all Android series, however, just like magic, on every product launch, Apple has its way to force the market waiting with bated breath wondering what kind of innovated operation experience and function application Apple will release.

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Even ARM had released its 64 bits infrastructure and also announced that in the 2nd half of 2014 there will be 64 bits mobile processor released, however, Apple for the first time applied its own 64 bits A7 mobile processor on iPhone 5S which brought war to mobile processor specifications and other mobile processor chip industries has to shift the schedule of release ahead accordingly.


While the market is still debating about true eight-core and pseudo eight-core, MTK seizes the opportunity releasing eight-core MTK6592 mobile processor to draw media’s attention. Nevertheless, former Qualcomm chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher mentioned that except for Samsung or MTK’s eight-core or the new 64 bits agenda, to focus on best performance and better user experience still is the best way.


PC Market Threatened by 64 Bits Mobile Processor Arising

It’s undeniable that Apple add extra M7 coprocessor while new generation ARMv8 infrastructure 64 bits A7 mobile processor released on iPhone 5S. Although we are still wondering about their purpose, the preparation time for other mobile processor chip vendor has been shortened for sure.


Also, this rapid development from mobile area actually threatened Wintel (Microsoft + Intel) group and narrowed the gap of hardware computing power between mobile device and Wintel series.


Let’s quit judging if 64 bits mobile processor is only market gimmick or really necessary. At least on total computing capability wise, 64 bits mobile processor is far better than 32 bits and market believes that 64 bits is the only way to future mobile devices.


According to the test report from abroad hardware review website, the A7 processor of iPhone 5S scores doubled compare to Macbook Air 2010 and Mac Mini 2010 version on performance. Besides better performance, it also represents one fact that mobile processor chip officially become comparable with PC. Especially on the OS X operating system, it’s not hard to notice OS X operating system gradually becomes iOS assimilation.


It is anticipated that iPhone 5S with 64 bits mobile processor chip will urge the consolidation of OSX and iOS operating system and probably on 2016 we will see Mac and Macbook Pro series with mobile processor chip released.


Except for searching opportunities on 64 bits processors, we also found out mobile device manufacturer focus on upgrading memory size. For the mobile devices (smart phone and tablet) new released from Samsung and Pantech, we noticed all of them carried 3GB memories trying to create more powerful processing performance. After all, 32 bits mobile processor will not be able to handle memories larger than 4GB, thus if 4GB and more memory carried, 64 bits processor will be the only solution.


However, more than 4GB memories are not the only advantage coming from 64 bits mobile processor. It is generally considered that 4GB is the natural barrier for 32 bits but the true root cause coming from operating system restricts the size of memories. In simple terms, taking ARMv8 framed A7 mobile processor of iPhone 5S for example, the available addressing capability on physical or virtual memory stands 48 bits, which means it can support 32TB maximum. However, memory size positively correlates to power consumption and it is not easy for manufactures to create better performance and balance battery life at the same time.


Chip Suppliers Battle on 64 Bits

In order to respond this 64 bits mobile processor trend, Qualcomm released Snapdragon 410 with ARMv8 framed 64 bits mobile processor chip before other chip vendors. Qualcomm mentioned that 410 mobile processor chip will have initial samples at the 1st half of 2014 and probably in the 2nd half there will be mobile devices carried 410 mobile processor released in turns.


The interesting part is, instead of lock this chip on high-end products, Qualcomm apply it on middle and low level mobile devices which represents that 64 bits processor chip will not be exclusive for high-end mobile phones and lower level phones will also qualified of 64 bits processors even when selling price shrunk.


ARM marketing officer and executive VP Ian Drew also addressed in the middle of 2013, “On 2015, estimated shipping quantity for middle/low cost main stream mobile device will be 5.8 hundred million sets and that is going to overstep the total selling quantity for high-end smart phone and tablet PC”. With Ian Drew’s opinion and Qualcomm’s 410 chip supporting middle/low level smart phone hardware spec, we believe in the future although middle/low price smart phone will be the main stream selling, the specifications still will be comparable with high-end mobile phone.


Also, Samsung, owns tremendous high market share with its Android system, confirmed that they started the development on 64 bits processor and there is a good chance to release 64 bits smart phone and tablet PC in 2014. It is predicted that the next generation Galaxy S5 will be the first Android device with 64 bits mobile processor chip. Furthermore, even the PC leader Intel can no longer wait but announced in the first quarter next year the 64 bits Bay Trail T mobile processor for Windows 8.1 and Android tablet PC will be released.


Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced in the investor conference at Santa Clara that the first Android tablet PC carried 64 bits processor will release after 64 bits Windows 8.1 tablet PC. Moreover, it is confirmed that 64 bits processor carried Android tablet PC will maintain middle range price to show Intel’s determination occupying tablet PC market share. With Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Samsung’s movements and the coming opening of CES in 2014 Jan, we will see more and more chip suppliers focus on 64 bits mobile processor solutions.


Along with the hardware specification and function of mobile devices approaching to PC level, it is predicted that 4 core and above mobile devices will not be exclusive for high-end series only. Moreover, the subjects for mobile device will not limited on the numbers of cores carried, 64 bits mobile processor will push for clear market segmentation for mobile devices.


Google still lack of 64 bits Android mobile operating system and the App developed based on 64 bits principle are less. It is like driving a slow Beetle in the high speed highway, only until 32 bits App updated to 64 bits, users can actually feel the difference. After all, it took long years for PC products upgrade from 32 bits to 64 bits and even with the rapid changing from mobile device area, it will still take a while to


However, after the first release of 64 bits mobile processor chip by Apple, mobile processor chip industry rushed in and it will be a parade on the mobile devices carried 64 bits mobile processor releasing in 2014. Maybe it will not be a surprise for all PC turns to mobile processor chip in the near future.


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