Heads up Apple, here comes 64-bit Android on Intel

Chip giant demonstrates a 64-bit Android platform running on its latest Atom processors at an investor conference.

Dell's Venue 8 Android tablet uses an Intel chip.
Dell's Venue 8 Android tablet uses an Intel chip. Dell

Apple's A7 chips will feel some 64-bit heat from Intel and Android next year.

Intel is readying a 64-bit Bay Trail Atom platform for Android, according to Hermann Eul, Intel's general manager, mobile and communications group, speaking at the company's investor day on Thursday.

"It's not only about Windows 64-bit, we've been talking about Android as well," Eul said.

An assistant then proceeded to demo on stage "the first ever showing of a 64-bit kernel running on Bay Trail with Android."

Eul continued. "We have 64-bit Windows shipping next quarter and, needless to say, we'll run fast to make this happen on Android as well."

Intel's Bay Trail processor -- which is currently powering a growing number of tablets and 2-in-1 devices from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo -- today is 64-bit but runs Windows 8.1 in 32-bit mode. That will be rectified next quarter when Bay Trail tablets run in full 64-bit Windows 8.1 mode.

Today, Android on smartphones and tablets is a 32-bit affair.

Apple garnered lots of headlines in September when it unveiled the 64-bit A7 processor -- that chip now powers the iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and iPad Mini Retina.

A slide shown Thursday by Hermann Eul, general manager, mobile and communications group at Intel.
A slide shown Thursday by Hermann Eul, general manager, mobile and communications group at Intel. Intel

Going to 64-bit allows a device to address more memory -- more than the 4GB limitation in many cases for 32-bit processors.

But that's not all. A 64-bit platform can allow data-intensive applications to handle large chunks of data more efficiently than 32-bit -- and that can have implications in gaming, for instance.

Intel won't be alone, though, making a run at Apple. A report earlier this month said Samsung will launch a flagship smartphone with a 64-bit CPU in 2014.

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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