MWC: 64-bit processors make phones faster and safer, says ARM

Cloud computing services will change the way we use our mobile phones in the future, and it is changing the design of the processor in the handset, according to processor firm ARM.


Nandan Nayampally

Mobile devices are rapidly moving to 64-bit processors for performance and security benefits.

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Cloud storage and data analysis is starting to have an impact of the mobile phone industry, but it is not changing the role of the handset as an intelligent device with its own processing capability, says Nandan Nayampally, vice president of marketing, CPU Group at ARM.

“Compute connectivity activity in the handsets is increasing, but the handset is still doing increased amounts of data processing,” Nayampally told Electronics Weekly at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.

In fact the development of cloud storage will put increased importance on the data processing required in the phone, says Nayampally.

“With the cloud, compute power will still need to be distributed. For example, if you send the raw data to the cloud it will kill the networks,” said Nayampally.

Data security will also rely on running encryption and authentication software in the handset.

“In a way we look as the processor in the phone as an extension of the cloud,” said Nayampally.

To meet this growing demand for processing in the handset, ARM is powering ahead with its plans to bring more power efficient 64-bit processor cores to handsets.

Last year 50% of all smartphones had 64-bit processors in them, they may not all have been running 64-bit instructions, but the capability is there,” said Nayampally.

The plan is to move 64-bit processors such as the Cortex-A35 from the high-end smartphones down to the lower cost handsets by reducing the cost model for 64-bit cores.

“In this way high-end software functions, including virtual reality (VR), will run on more affordable form factor phones,” said Nayampally.

Nayampally also believes moving to 64-bit processors in the handset will bring with it new benefits in terms of security functions such as advanced encryption methodologies.

ARM expects the Cortex-A35, which is based on the ARMv8-A 64-bit architecture to begin shipping in production silicon from its partners by late 2016.

This will be vital for the new generations of cloud-connected mobile devices which will range from smartphones and tablets to health monitors and even cars.

The car is becoming a mobile device,” said Nayampally.

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