64-bit processors are slowly making their way to smartphones. Apple’s got a head start, and Android’s likely to start following sometime this year. We’ve already seen a lot of groundwork laid for 64-bit on Android, and even heard about efforts towards 64-bit chips. But for that hardware to do its job, it needs 64-bit-aware software in place. Android’s Linux roots give it a head start at preparing for 64-bit hardware, but someone still needs to implement all that Linux 64-bit stuff over on the Android codebase. We’re still waiting for such support from Google and the AOSP, but today we hear about a separate effort from Intel, which has released a build of KitKat containing a 64-bit kernel optimized for its Atom SoCs.
While the kernel is a key part to preparing the platform to take full advantage of 64-bit chips, it’s still not the complete story – we need to see a lot of additional Android code updated for 64-bit before we start talking about the platform as a whole being ready for these new chips.
That said, Intel clearly has its eyes on the future here, and mainstream Android 64-bit support continues to look less like a matter of “if,” and more one of “when.”