updated 10:41 am EST, Tue December 17, 2013
Unveiling set off panic at Qualcomm
Apple reportedly "stunned" chipmakers when it introduced the iPhone 5s' A7 system-on-chip (SoC) in September, as the first company to embrace 64-bit architecture for mobile platforms. In a HubSpot blog post from Dan Lyons, which was spotted by AppleInsider, an unnamed source within Samsung noted that Apple's announcement was widely downplayed by competitors "but it set off panic in the industry."
"We were slack-jawed, and stunned, and unprepared," the source said. "It's not that big a performance difference right now, since most current software won't benefit. But in Spinal Tap terms it's like, 32 more, and now everyone wants it."
The lack of mobile applications that could work in 64-bit mode at the time of the announcement led a Qualcomm executive to dismiss the chip as a marketing gimmick. Internally, however, the company is said to have adjusted its roadmap to follow the same path. The executive later backtracked before being reassigned to a different position within the company.
"The roadmap for 64-bit was nowhere close to Apple's, since no one thought it was that essential," the Qualcomm source added.
Qualcomm, Broadcom and Nvidia are reportedly set to bring their own 64-bit quad-core chips to Android devices sometime in the first half of 2014, while Samsung claims its 64-bit Exynos processor is already set for mass production. Google has yet to publicly announce the Android development work that would be necessary to fully take advantage of 64-bit operation, however.