This year the 64-bit chips arrive in masse to smartphones and tablets

For the remainder of the year a tide of 64-bit processors for mobile devices comes, following the decision of the company include the iPhone 5S, a chip with these characteristics. The 64 bits are already used in the PC just over a decade, but on smartphones and tablets were, until now, 32 bits.

But what does this mean? Going from 32 to 64 bits on a chip can process more data blocks per processor cycle (hertz, one gigahertz equals one billion cycles per second) useful if you have to search a lot of information and computing. A 64-bit chip can also handle more RAM, but in this case it seems to be secondary (Apple is, for now, using 2 GB of RAM in iOS).

The general argument of the industry at the time of the announcement of Apple, was that yes, very nice chip, but most users (and applications) would not find a direct benefit to the change, which also seen in the PC world, most of us could go with 32-bit processors without major complications.

But they are better 64-bit processors, of course, though at first Qualcomm-which dominates the processor market for mobile devices, went on to say that Apple was pure marketing and then had to change discourse. In fact, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona ended in late February announced not one but two 64-bit processors and 8-core (thus going against its other historical stance, that the multiplicity of cores is not all), which added another who had submitted in December.


It has many advantages. Whether one is in the Windows world, to have an x86 64-bit chip for mobile will unifies application support and management teams for all kinds of devices, be it a PC or tablet. But thinking of a 64-bit general, which allows you, is to have a better management of applications that make very intensive use of data. For example, to capture photos and videos, but more importantly, for handling, an application for editing video or audio encoding benefits greatly from a processor of this type.

To the extent that both Android and Windows-either x86 or ARM-be walk down that double-edged blade that is the modern personal computing (which should be as powerful as possible, but also mobile and therefore frugal) have 64-bit processors can go from being anecdotal to be vital (low power most of the time, super-powerful when we need to behave like a desktop). For many people at the same time the change, if it comes, will be almost invisible in terms of performance. Foul also arriving the official versions of Windows Phone and Android recompiled for 64-bit to take advantage of the virtues of these new processors that can run both 32-bit (as in PC) without any problems.

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We will also, of course, a matter of marketing: 64 bits as a way for the manufacturer of smartphones and tablets to sell a computer as most powerful, and so on. But necessary or not, 64-bit computing on smartphones and tablets comes to stay. A study by ABI Research estimates that by 2018 55% of the mobile market will use 64-bit processors.


During the Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm introduced two new 64-bit processors. Snapdragon 610 and 615 have connectivity multiband LTE, the core 615 has 8 (but operated in two blocks of four, as the Exynos Samsung), while the 610 is four, and are compatible with instructions ARMv8 (remember, the Qualcomm chips are compatible with ARM, but with its own design), and includes Adreno 405 graphics with support for DirectX 11.2, Open GL ES3.0 and resolutions of 2560 x 1600 pixels.

But the Snapdragon 801 which is at the heart of the Samsung Galaxy S5 of the Sony Xperia Z2 and the LG G Pro 2 is 32 bit, so they do not expect to see 64-bit on its friend Android soon.


The Qualcomm were not alone: MediaTek (the Taiwanese firm that plays a key role in the growth of Chinese manufacturers of medium and high end) also introduced a SoC (system on a chip, a solution to include all processors and elements needed to create a computer-based smartphone, make all) 64 bits, with 8-core Cortex-53 2 GHz and Mali T760 graphics.


And Intel was missing, of course: it has not so far had a strong presence in smartphones, but tablets is beginning to have an interesting space, especially on computers with Windows 8, in Barcelona presented its Atom Z35xx and Z34xx (ie Moorefield and Merrifield, x86 processors are used that allow Android, Windows, Linux another variant, etc.). The Z3480 has two cores at 2.1 GHz and PowerVR G6400 graphics, while the Z35XX use four cores at 2.3 GHz when ready. And they are, of course, more powerful than what is available today to the company in this segment, 1.7 times better performance than the Z2580 Z3480 applications that are not multithreaded.


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