Sunday, June 15, 2014

64-bit mobile processors? Only in the Apple iPhone 5S!

John Gruber, writer of Daring Fireball, wrote a four-part post titled "Only Apple." I'm going to look at one statement he made in the second part: "No one else is making 64-bit mobile CPUs and Apple sold tens of millions of them immediately." "Immediately" in this context means beginning with the release date of the iPhone 5S, Sept. 21, 2013.

Here we are, almost nine months after Apple began shipping 64-bit mobile processors in volume. My question: Is anyone other than Apple shipping a mobile device (phone or tablet) with a 64-bit processor? The answer, as you will see below, is "No."

I found this article in PCWorld: "Qualcomm overtakes Apple with eight-core, 64-bit mobile processor." The money quote: "The Snapdragon 615 will go into high-end smartphones and tablets, which should become available in the fourth quarter." We're not even in the third quarter yet.

MediaTek has announced the MT6732 64-bit mobile processor. According to their news release: "The MT6732 platform will be commercially available by Q3 of 2014, with devices expected by the end of the year." So no devices shipping yet.

Samsung, of course, will also have a 64-bit mobile processor. The best information I can find says that these processors will be under the Exynos brand. However, Samsung appears to be waiting for 64-bit Android to be released later this year. Again, no shipping devices yet.

Intel issued a news release touting the "2.13GHz Intel Atom processor Z3480 ('Merrifield')" that is a "64-bit ready SOC" (SOC means "System on a chip"). Intel explains that "64-bit ready" means that the processor will run at 32 bits until 64-bit software is ready. It doesn't actually claim to be a 64-bit processor. It is expected to launch the second quarter of this year. I looked for devices with this processor and found this article from the Motley Fool: "Was Intel Corporation’s Atom Z3480 a Failure?" It claims that Dell is going to begin shipping Venue 7 and 8 tablets with this processor by July 1. I did find the Venue 8 Pro shown on Dell's web site but it is running an Atom Z3740D which is a 32-bit processor although it supports 64-bit instructions. It has the Windows 8.1 32-bit operating system installed. Dell may be shipping a device in the third quarter but it may only have a 32-bit processor, not a 64-bit processor.

Finally, Nvidia has announced the Tegra K1 processor in two versions, one 32 bit and one 64 bit. The 64-bit processor is expected to ship in devices in the second half of the year.

I have to conclude that Apple is the only company shipping a device with a 64-bit mobile processor even though it's now nine months after the iPhone 5S began shipping.

No comments: