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Samsung wants to stay on its A game to beat Apple

Samsung sees that Apple is making an aggressive push into China, and will pump up the competition with powerful new 64-bit Galaxy products in order to keep Apple at bay. 

Shin Jong-kyun, Samsung’s mobile business chief, confirmed that Samsung wants to expand its business in the Chinese smartphone market during a meeting in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.
“Samsung understands that Apple intends to boost its mobile business in China, as well as in Japan, meaning that we should try harder in these countries,” said shin.

Apple will sell its latest iPhones through China Unicom and China Telecom while also talking with China Mobile, which has a customer base over twice the size of the U.S. population. In fact, Chinese regulators gave the final required license for the iPhone to work on China Mobile Ltd's mobile network this week.

Samsung Galaxy S IV

Samsung plans to pursue the market with competitive products in hopes of swaying users from buying Apple's iPhones. For instance, Shin said the next set of Samsung Galaxy smartphones would feature 64-bit processors for more power and speed.

“Not in the shortest time. But yes, our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality,” said Shin.

In addition, Samsung will hold a launch event for its latest 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 "phablet" in China.

Apple, on the other hand, just recently announced its iPhone 5S, which also features a 64-bit processor (the ARM-based A7). This will offer the market a high-end smartphone with enough power to run complex games and applications. 
As of the end of the second quarter, Samsung was the top smartphone seller in China with 19.4 percent of the market while Apple’s share was just 4.3 percent.

Source: The Korea Times

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RE: should have just went to 128bit
By bug77 on 9/12/2013 11:04:33 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, I don't get why a phone would need 64 bit processing either (not for a few more years anyway). Probably ARM/MIPS upgraded their designs and Apple/Samsung got the new architecture for free.

RE: should have just went to 128bit
By Argon18 on 9/12/13, Rating: -1
RE: should have just went to 128bit
By bug77 on 9/12/2013 11:46:25 AM , Rating: 2
64bit can handle double precision better, true, but I'm not convinced a mobile phone or a tablet needs that.

More registers is not inherently a boon of 64bit addressing.

And about 4GB RAM, it's just like I said: not for a few more years. But it's better to be ready then playing catching up, I agree with you on this one.

RE: should have just went to 128bit
By Dorkyman on 9/12/2013 1:03:14 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe I'm just living in the past, but can someone please tell me how an app for a smartphone could be written to require the use of 4+GB? I do HD video editing as a profession and my editing program on my PC is perfectly happy in much less than 1GB. And video editing and rendering are really CPU-intensive tasks.

So to me this smacks of just a marketing gimmick, like pixels in a camera ("company X has 16 megapixels, so we have 24!!!")

By ClownPuncher on 9/12/2013 1:37:05 PM , Rating: 2
You're a patient man if you can put up with 1gb.

By Solandri on 9/12/2013 1:55:24 PM , Rating: 2
The only apps I can think of right now which use huge amounts of memory are large 3D simulations, and massive databases which need to be in RAM for maximum speed (e.g. Google's search servers).

Looking to the future, memory needs are going to explode once 3D video becomes mainstream. The pieces for this are already in place or in development. A light field camera can capture 3D images natively, or you can simulate it with 2+ lenses and a bunch of computer processing. On the display side, quantum dot displays could conceivably be used to create holograms if you make the addressable dots small enough and can do massive fourier transform calculations in real-time.

By Shadowself on 9/12/2013 2:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
Think more along the lines of 64 bit integers. Integer math is less processor intensive than floating point math. (I remember a while back when a chip I used did all integer operations in one cycle with relatively low power in while floating point either took more cycles or more power. In fact the double precision floating divide took 17 cycles!). If more can now be done in integer math than FP there *might* be both a speed up and power savings. Maybe. I'm looking forward to some benchmarks on some real world applications to see if Apple's 2x speed increase holds up.

Apple explicitly stated that the doubled the number of registers in the A7 over the number available in the A6. That part shouldn't be in question.

It's less about the amount of RAM and more about the RAM access bandwidth. This was the gotcha that hit a lot of systems in the 16 to 32 switch and again in the 32 to 64 switch. If you're now pushing 64 bits around versus 32 bits the processor can get starved it you don't increase the memory bandwidth. Even if you double the processing speed of the CPU, as Apple claims, if you don't feed it fast enough it's all for naught. Apple has a very poor track record in properly scaling their historical systems' memory bandwidths. We'll just have to see how they did this time.

By danbob999 on 9/12/2013 9:49:26 PM , Rating: 2
Even 32 bit CPUs have 64 bit FPU (floating point units).
32 bit ARM CPUs even have NEON 128 bit registers for fast floating point operations.

By paulc543 on 9/12/2013 12:05:10 PM , Rating: 2
"To handle all the new multimedia capabilities, with manipulating videos, photos, etc."

Still not convinced enough (or any) people are doing that on a mobile phone to the extent that a 32 bit architecture is a real limitation. Likewise with the memory addressing. What phone has 4+ gigs of ram? None. They only recently commonly started including 2.

I'm not saying it's not a good move for the future, but to suggest people will see actual advantages today is stretching it.

RE: should have just went to 128bit
By Monkey's Uncle on 9/12/2013 12:10:12 PM , Rating: 2
And lastly, the one everyone seems to get hung up on, it allows for clean addressing of 4+ GB of ram. Microsoft got caught with their pants down in the PC world on this one. People buying PC's with 4 GB of RAM, but OS could only use 3.0 GB, or maybe 3.2 GB, because OS was only 32 bit. High end phones already have 2 GB of RAM. It makes sense to begin transitioning them to 64 bit *now* so that in a year or two, when 4 GB phones hit the market, you won't be stuck with only 3.2 GB usable.

You need to get something straight.

The "3.2GB out of 4.0GB usable" limitation comes from memory-mapped I/O of Intel processors where hardware board memory (i.e. video card buffers and communication registers) is mapped into memory below the 4GB line. However if you had more than 4GB of memory installed, while only 4GB was addressable, In Intel provided a means to map I/O over the 4GB boundary in the motherboard BIOS. But you have to have physical system memory available to map over. This is an Intel processor design feature and has noting to do with Microsoft or 32-bit architecture.

A 64-bit processor does not necessarily provide a more or less registers. The number of registers available is a function of the architecture of the specific processor - not its 'bitness'.

The larger 64-bit registers only come into play when loadfing or addressing 64-bit data. When used with legacy code only the bottom 32-bits of those registers are used for data or addresses. BUT in order to be called a '64-bit' processor, the core must be able to directly handle both 64-bit addresses and 64-bit data words.

Floating point registers are is usually 80 bits wide. A 32-bit processor has 80-bit FP registers (without 80 bit registers, it can't handle floating point calculations). A 64-bit processor will still have 80 bit FP registers. The actual bitness of the processor will usually be determined by its address and integer registers and its ALU - not its FPU.

RE: should have just went to 128bit
By extide on 9/12/2013 4:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the <4GB limit in Windows 32-bit Client versions is STRICTLY A SOFTWARE LIMITATION. With PAE you can support up to 64GB of ram on a 32-bit system (notably with the exception that a single process can only use 4GB at a time...) This is supported in Windows Server, Linux, etc.

RE: should have just went to 128bit
By retrospooty on 9/12/2013 12:18:45 PM , Rating: 2
"It makes sense to begin transitioning them to 64 bit *now* so that in a year or two"

On this I agree. Apple probably made a good move. It wont help yet, but having it now makes the transition easier. When it matters, it wont be a "transition".

RE: should have just went to 128bit
By Dorkyman on 9/12/2013 1:06:54 PM , Rating: 2
"In a year or two..."

Yeah, right.

By Tony Swash on 9/12/2013 2:15:32 PM , Rating: 1
Bear in mind that Apple's range of iOS devcies is highly integrated, the same chip families and SDK, the same service and development stack. The A7 chip appeared first in it's phones but an iPad refresh is only week away, I would have thought it highly likely that the A7 and M7 chips will appear in the higher end iPad models and iPads, with their very large number of high end apps, are widely used for intensive computing activity. This is typical Apple, big, early, foundational tech transitions that lay the basis for developments for years ahead.

By retrospooty on 9/12/2013 3:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
""In a year or two..."

Well, at some point. Right now, it doesn't hurt anything, in the future it will help, so why not? Just like Windows 64bit years ago. Everything that works, still works, and in the future, its already ready.

By aliasfox on 9/12/2013 1:10:39 PM , Rating: 2
Considering Apple keeps SoCs around for 2-3 years (A4 was 2010-2013, A5 looks to be 2011-2014), any chip introduced in 2013 will likely be expected to last until 2015-2016. If we assume that all new, high end phones released in 2015 will have 4+GB of RAM, then it makes sense to have your OS and APIs written for 64-bit architectures by that point. Releasing a 64-bit chip now means that Apple can still sell low-end A7 based devices in 2015 running on a 2015-current OS.

Though I guess from that perspective, it makes less sense for Samsung to do it right now if nobody expects them to a) keep phone models in production for very long, or b) update their phones to the latest OSes 2 years after release.

By amanojaku on 9/12/2013 12:38:45 PM , Rating: 4
There is so much wrong it this post it's not even funny.
A 64 bit processor handles large floating point calculations a lot faster than a 32 bit one does.
ARM has had 64-bit floating point since ARMv7. In fact, the most robust ARMv7 supports 128-bit floating point.
It also provides a lot more CPU registers, and it increases the size of those registers; most 32 bit chips are somewhat constrained in this area.
This has NOTHING to do with 64-bit. In fact, increasing the register size technically leads to a decrease in the number of registers, unless a smaller process is used, or some other transistors are removed. Both seem to be the case with the new ARMv9: Thumb was removed, and I've read that ARMv8 was built on a 28nm process (vs. 32nm for v7), with 16nm planned by the end of the year. The number of registers has not increased at all: v7 supported up to 32, and so does v8.
And lastly, the one everyone seems to get hung up on, it allows for clean addressing of 4+ GB of ram. Microsoft got caught with their pants down in the PC world on this one. People buying PC's with 4 GB of RAM, but OS could only use 3.0 GB, or maybe 3.2 GB, because OS was only 32 bit. High end phones already have 2 GB of RAM. It makes sense to begin transitioning them to 64 bit *now* so that in a year or two, when 4 GB phones hit the market, you won't be stuck with only 3.2 GB usable.
Idiot. ARM has supported more than 4GiB of RAM since Cortex A7 and A15 (ARMv7) thanks to LPAE.

ARM has a better explanation for 64-bit that you provided:
An obvious reason for 64-bit is the support of more than 4GB of physical memory; however this is achieved in ARMv7’s LPAE extension on Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7. Why then is 64-bit useful?

In server applications, OS and application software are frequently 64-bit today, so 64-bit pointers for virtual addressing are critical in these applications. Full support of AArch64, in addition to the power efficient ARMv8 architecture and power optimized microarchitectures, make Cortex-A50 series processors well suited to a broad range of applications in efficient low-power servers.

In the desktop environment, a larger virtual address space is important for modern desktop software APIs that may come to rely on having a vast virtual address space for techniques such as memory mapped file I/O and sparse addressing (e.g. for persistent objects). AArch64 also enables efficient 64-bit immediate generation meaning less need for literal pools.

A large program counter relative addressing range (+/-4GB) for efficient data addressing is helpful within shared libraries and position-independent executable. The ARMv8 instruction set, fully supported by the Cortex-A50 series processors, is optimized for clean code generation, with its orthogonal ISA and compiler friendly flexible addressing modes.

Support for 64-bit in ARMv8 will enable ARM processors to become more broadly deployed in server and desktop applications, and will provide future-proof support for the eventual migration of 64-bit operating systems to mobile applications.

And to address Monkey's Uncle below:

The Cortex-A50 Series is the latest range of processors based on the ARMv8 architecture. The series includes support for the AArch64, a new energy efficient 64-bit execution state that operates alongside an enhanced version of ARM’s existing 32-bit execution state.

Cortex-A50 series processors are excellent 32-bit processors with 64-bit capability. They deliver more performance for ARMv7 32-bit code in AArch32 execution state, and offer support for 64-bit data and larger virtual addressing space in AArch64 execution state.
Yes, you CAN run 32-bit on 64-bit ARM, including a 32-bit OS. Idiot.

RE: should have just went to 128bit
By djc208 on 9/12/2013 11:38:23 AM , Rating: 2
Well it's still really only 32 bit, the other 32 are mirrors that the NSA can access, but it sounds good in marketing and it won't slow down your phone when they want to see how many cat videos you looked up yesterday.

By testerguy2 on 9/12/2013 1:32:50 PM , Rating: 1
Are you saying Samsung users give their info to NSA and watch cat videos?

Or did your butthurt lead you to forget which article you were posting on?

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