Appleinsider: One year after Apple’s A7, Nvidia announces first 64-bit ARM CPU for Android

Nvidia says each Denver core is capable of processing up to seven operations per clock cycle, compared with a reported six instructions per clock for the A7 and just three per clock for the 32-bit (Nvidia) Tegra K1.

I think the key here is right in the article’s title: one year after Apple. Nvidia’s new 64-bit system on a chip is impressive and it theoretically will outperform Apple’s offering. But, the problem for Nvidia is that they are completing against a chip that is nearly a year old already. By the time the first generation 64-bit Nvidia chip and 64-bit Android are ready to ship Apple will already be on its second generation implementation of 64-bit in the mobile space.1

There is no word on which device will be the first to ship with Denver, though Nvidia does promise full pin compatibility with 32-bit Tegra K1 variants for easier integration. The first 64-bit version of Android is currently in testing and is slated for release this fall.

I guess I will bang the fragmentation drum; every flagship device that Apple ships has 64-bit chips and software. Soon, every device that Apple ships will have 64-bit chips and software. How long will it take for every Android manufacturer to get to that point? How long will it take Android developers to fully optimize their apps for a 64-bit environment?

I realize there are counter-arguments to the need for 64-bit on mobile devices. But just remember what chipmakers were saying last year:

The chip’s surprise introduction was said to have left industry insiders “slack-jawed, and stunned, and unprepared.” (…) “Apple kicked everybody in the balls with this,” a Qualcomm employee said at the time. “It’s being downplayed, but it set off panic in the industry.”

Nvidia, 64-bit ARM, and Apple

  1. I do offer the caveat that raw hardware specs by themselves are not an indication of performance or user experience.

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