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
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