Samsung to develop its own 64-bit mobile chip

Samsung is working on an in-house optimized version of a 64-bit mobile processor. Hmm...just like Apple.

Samsung will do both an ARM 64-bit processor and its own optimized version.
Samsung will develop both an ARM 64-bit processor and its own optimized version. Samsung

Samsung will follow in Apple's footsteps with its own flavor of a 64-bit chip for mobile devices, the company disclosed on Wednesday.

Described as a "2-step approach," Samsung is working first on an 64-bit processor based on a design from ARM, then, developing its own "optimized" 64-bit design, said Stephen Woo, president of System LSI at Samsung Electronics, during a presentation at Samsung's Analyst Day in Seoul, South Korea.

"Many people were thinking, why did we need 64-bit for mobile devices?" asked Woo. "People were asking that question until three months ago. And now I think no one is asking that question. They're asking, when can we have that?"

Apple drew plenty of oohs and aahs when it revealed the first 64-bit chip for smartphones in September. That Apple A7 processor is also an ARM-based design that has been optimized and tweaked by Apple. It is now in shipping in the iPhone 5S and iPad Air .

Woo did not say when Samsung plans to release either of the 64-bit chips.

"We are marching on schedule," said Woo. "We will offer the first 64-bit [processor] based on ARM's own core. After that, we will offer an even more optimized 64-bit [processor] based on our own optimizations."

Samsung may already be dropping hints of future of mobile devices packing PC-like memory capacities that would require a 64-bit processor. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can use 3GB of memory. Anything beyond 4GB and 64-bit chips become pretty much a necessity, as 32-bit processors in most cases can't address that much memory.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 packs 3GB of memory -- which is pushing toward the upper limit for 32-bit processors.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 packs 3GB of memory -- which is pushing toward the upper limit for 32-bit processors. Josh Miller/CNET
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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