It seems like everyone is gearing up for the 64-bit mobile computing game. In September at Intel’s developer conference, Intel announced their contributions to the Android Open Source Project, adding support for their upcoming 64-bit Bay Trail processors. Not wanting to feel left out when competing with Apple, Samsung announced in October that they too planed on bringing 64-bit processors to the Android game with their Exynos line. Even Qualcomm recently backpedaled on their original stance on 64-bit mobile processors, announcing that Apple’s A7 processor is no longer a gimmick.
While digging through the Android Open Source Project, we happened to come across some interesting code from mobile microprocessor juggernaut, ARM.
If you aren’t aware, ARM doesn’t manufacture any ARM-based products themselves. What they do is: license their instruction sets to third party companies, allowing them to design their own products implementing ARM’s architectures, System-on-Chips, memory, interfaces, and radios. Guess who just happens to license this technology from ARM? You guessed it. Samsung and Qualcomm. (For what it’s worth, Apple does this too.)
Not unless you’re a developer type, the above image won’t really mean a whole lot to you. Basically, David Butcher of ARM, has been submitting code patches into AOSP to add support for 64bit ARM-based processors. These additions could allow Android to successfully run on 64bit ARM-based processors, such as those from ARM’s licensees Samsung and Qualcomm. Some code has already been merged, while some others are still pending approval.
Does this mean that Android is now 64bit? No. All this mean is that Android could one day run on 64-bit processors as a 32-bit or 64-bit OS. A quick example: Some of you might be running Windows 7 32-bit on a 64-bit processor. Stuff like this has been done for the past decade in the desktop PC world. This is the same thing. The good news is, hardware manufacturers are future proofing themselves, preparing for the day when 64-bit Android becomes a reality.
Source: Android Open Source Project