Samsung Meets With ARM to Discuss 64-Bit CPU for 2014 Galaxy S5, 128-bit Chips
November 21, 2013 1:40 PM
Samsung also is eyeing Cortex-M processors for its Smart TVs and appliances
Two of the smartphone market's biggest powers met this week to discuss processors. UK-based ARM Holdings plc (
), an architecture company whose titular instruction set is found in 95 percent of smartphones sold today, traveled to South Korea, the home turf of Android phonemaker South Korea's Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
accounted for over 30 percent of global smartphone shipments
in Q3 -- nearly three times more than any other OEM.
Samsung and ARM met to discuss the adoption of ARM's new ARMv8 64-bit instruction set, which
Samsung's upcoming Exynos 6 processors for next year's Galaxy S5
expected to use
. Antonio Viana, ARM’s executive vice president of commercial and global development, met with senior Samsung executives to talk about the roadmap to 64-bit and beyond.
An unnamed senior manager at ARM with knowledge of the meeting suggested 128-bit chips might also have been discussed. While PC CPUs have yet to hit 128-bit,
The Korea Herald
the senior ARM executive as saying there was a "possibility" that ARM would release a 128-bit instruction set in the next two years and push for smartphone/tablet adoption. But the Korean publication says the ARM official said these plans were only a "possibility" and not a definite plan at present.
Samsung wants to make sure that its Exynos chips for next year's Galaxy S5 have access to ARM's best instruction set -- the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set.
The official is quoted as suggesting that smartphones soon may have more than 4 GB of memory and need 64-bit processors to address their memory. The source stated, "As technology moves from, for example, shifting to face recognition on smartphones from the
fingerprint scanner to unlock an iPhone
, it requires more powerful memory capacity."
It also appears that ARM is incentivizing the transition to 64-bit ARM chips in the mobile market, in part, to
fuel its server ambitions
, as well as its PC push.
While 64-bit chips offer some gains in graphics and I/O addition to the aforementioned memory addressing gains, processing is generally otherwise unaffected. However, ARM is purposefully
tilting the playing field in 64-bit's flavor
by designing its new instruction sets -- which allow more registers -- to only work for 64-bit chips. 32-bit chips will be forced to use the older, less optimized ARMv7. In other words, ARM is telling mobile chipmakers to make the switch or settle with last generation instruction sets.
This push will allow ARM to foster an ecosystem of compatible applications, which may help the chip designer to
push into the PC and server markets
, two key areas of desired growth.
Samsung may look to use the Cortex M chips in new appliances.
Samsung and ARM also reportedly discussed the
, a low power core design which Samsung may look to use in its appliances and Smart TVs.
The Korea Herald
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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