Apple may be the first company to introduce a smartphone with a 64-bit processor, but it may not be long before you start to see Android phones and tablets with 64-bit chips.
Samsung has already announced plans to release its first 64-bit chips next year, likely based on ARM’s upcoming Cortex-A57 architecture, and Intel’s Bay Trail chips support 64-bit processing, and they could soon support 64-bit Android apps.
But under the hood, Android is already capable of handling 64-bit processing.
As Ars Technica reports, Android is based on a Linux kernel… and Linux has supported 64-bit technology for years. The only thing Android really needs to fully support 64-bit processing is for companies to produce Android hardware with 64-bit chips, and for developers to start writing apps designed to take advantage of the technology.
One of the key benefits of the move from 32-bit to 64-bit chips is largely theoretical right now: support for exabytes of RAM, rather than mere gigabytes. But the way 64-bit chips handle memory can also lead to improved performance in some tasks.
Most 64-bit apps also tend to be a bit larger than 32-bit apps, which can be a problem if you have hundreds of apps on your phone and not a lot of storage space. But it probably won’t make a huge difference for most users with 16GB or more of storage on their phones or tablets if they typically use around 100 apps or less.