Qualcomm plans smartphone chips with 64-bit technology


By Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Qualcomm Inc saidon Monday it will make smartphone chips with 64-bit featurestypically found in personal computers, following Apple Inc and opening the way to more efficient mobile gadgets.

Qualcomm said its new Snapdragon 410 component will alsoinclude 4G cellphone connectivity technology and be aimed at thefast-growing Chinese market, where it should start appearing inlow-cost smartphones in the second half of 2014.

Along with 4G, 64-bit technology will become standard acrossQualcomm's products, said Michelle Leyden Li, a Qualcomm seniordirector in charge of marketing its Snapdragon line.

Led by Apple's iPhones, the smartphone industry's evolutiontoward 64-bit chips reduces the gap between low-power mobileprocessors and punchier chips used in laptops, desktop PCs andservers.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has also said itplans to use 64-bit processors in its smartphones.

Processors with 64-bit features can take advantage of morememory than 32-bit processors now found in most mobile devices,potentially letting them work faster and more efficiently.

Current smartphones don't have enough memory to give 64-bitprocessors an advantage of 32-bit chips, but future phonesprobably will include enough memory to give the 64-bitprocessors a performance boost.

Taking advantage of 64-bit processors also requires changesto software originally designed for 32-bit processors.

"It's a little bit chicken and the egg," Leyden Li said. "Wesee this transition happening and we want to be there to helpenable the ecosystem."

In September, Apple unveiled its first iPhone made with a64-bit processor, leading to speculation the company plans tomerge its iOS mobile platform with the operating system used forits Mac laptop and desktop personal computers. Future Macs couldbe built with the same line of chips Apple that uses in itsiPhones and iPads.

Intel Corp already includes 64-bit features in itsmobile chips but the company's "x86" architecture has failed tocatch on in smartphones and tablets. A competing, low-powerarchitecture has been licensed to chipmakers by Arm Holdings Plc and has become ubiquitous in devices.

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