“Not in the shortest time. But yes, our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality” Samsung’s mobile business chief Shin Jong-kyun told the Korea Times on Wednesday. As you may also have heard, Apple has recently unveiled its iPhone 5S, which, among a few other things, features a 64-bit processor. “Why the sudden shift?” you may ask. That is what we will attempt to answer below.
Mobile computing is about to hit a wall:
The whole 32 vs 64 bit story has been a source of confusion for a very long time, and much of the blame for this belongs to the actual tech companies, who, for the sake of marketing, misinform the customers. The recent Apple adverts have been interpreted by many as trying to convey that 64-bit systems are a performance upgrade to the 32-bit ones. While we do understand the long term importance of “upping the game” to 64 bit, the performance increase triggered purely by changing the processor to 64 bit will be very small (because the OS and applications first need to be redesigned to be able to take advantage of that – and this will take some time).
You may have noticed that 32-bit systems are becoming rare in the desktop computing space, especially within the high-performance sector. Most new laptops and desktops come with 64-bit processors, and among the main reasons for that is that is the 4GB RAM boundary which is inherent to most 32-bit systems. The RAM in a 64-bit system also has an upper bound, but this is not one we will reach soon (the theoretical addressing limit for 64-bit systems is 2^64 bits of RAM).
The wall is about to give in:
Now that we have started to see mobile devices coming out with 3GB of RAM, it is only a matter of time before the software gets even more demanding and we require even more memory from our devices. Tech experts predict that we will reach that stage in about 2 years, which explains why the mobile giants are starting to compete for the dominance in the 64-bit space.
While we doubt that we will see other major tech companies releasing 64-bit smartphones this year, 2014 is predicted to bring many such releases.