When Apple unveiled the iPhone 5S and its 64-bit A8 processor - an industry first - it caught silicon spinners sleeping on the job. The Android ship was not set to sail over to 64-bit shores for another year or two, because there really was no important reason to. But weeks after Apple's keynote ended, demand was epidemic, and chipmakers found themselves forced into outing their 64-bit technology as soon as possible. It might have been a scramble, and it may have caused a headache or two at the likes of Intel, Google, Qualcomm, Samsung, and MediaTek. But by the end of 2014, 64-bit Android smartphones are in place, Google has sorted out 64-bit support in Android 5.0 Lollipop, the ground has been evened, and the path for the near future is pretty clear-cut. Go 64-bit, or bust!
To prove our point, here are ten new or upcoming 64-bit Android smartphones. Some of them are available right now, or will be released in the coming weeks. Contrary to what you may expect, most of them aren't performance beasts. It's because Qualcomm and MediaTek, which are the forefront of 64-bit processing, began the transition by outing their low and mid-range processors this year, leaving the flagship products for the first half of 2015. This way, smartphones for the budget-conscious can already benefit from 64-bit processing, while the most potent silicon is being primed for 2015's spec monsters.
10 new and coming 64-bit Android smartphones
10 new and coming 64-bit Android smartphones
1. Oppo R5
The 0.19-in (4.85mm) thin Oppo R5 was the world's slimmest phone for a day. Then another Chinese upstart, Vivo, whisked the crown by announcing a smartphone (the Vivo X5 Max) that's 0.0039 (0.10mm) thinner. Since everyone was focused on that, it might have eluded you that the Oppo R5 happens to be powered by an octa-core 64-bit Snapdragon 615 processor. While it's no performance beast, Qualcomm's 64-bit mid-ranger does the job and makes for a future-proof smartphone!
2. Huawei Honor 4X
Huawei is on a roll this year, stepping up its smartphone-making game with sweet designs and generous spec sheets. Just look at the Huawei Honor 4X! The lowly, but recent 64-bit quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor is only the weakest link in the chain. With a 5.5-inch 720p screen, 2GB of RAM, LTE, a 13MP rear cam, and a brilliant design, that's the kind of mid-ranger that makes the Chinese market impenetrable unless you're willing to deliver the goods at razor-thin margins.
3. Huawei Ascend Y550 4G
The Y550 might not look like much, but it shows even the lowest-tier devices from Huawei have something more to offer. In this case, it's a 64-bit quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, Android 4.4.2 KitKat, and 4G LTE connectivity - all that put together in a bargain-bin smartphone.
4. Oppo 1105
Affectionately named the "baby Oppo Find 7", this 4.5-inch nipper is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 64-bit processor, has 1GB of RAM, a 5MP main cam, a 2MP front cam, and runs Android 4.4 KitKat topped off with Oppo's ColorOs 2.0 UI. A fine low-end phone it is, but the $212 price is steep by any standards.
5. Lenovo Sisley S90
The Lenovo Sisley is every blatant bit an Android-powered iPhone clone, down to its 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor.
6. Elephone P6000
Elephone isn't very popular outside of homeland China, which doesn't mean it can't deliver some fine smartphones. This one, the Elephone P6000, runs on a quad-core 64-bit MediaTek MT6732 processor paired with an ARM Mali-760 graphics unit and 2GB of RAM. It also has a 720p display, a 13MP main camera, and LTE connectivity. Not bad for a sub-$200 smartphone!
7. Samsung Galaxy Mega 2
Now, how about something with more major brand cred? Released this September, the Samsung Galaxy Mega 2 is Sammy's phablet for the masses, offering a 6-inch 720p display, a Snapdragon 410 64-bit processor, 1 and a half gigabytes of RAM, an 8-megapixel main camera, and a 2800mAh battery. The phablet runs Android 4.4.3 KitKat topped off with, you guessed it, Samsung's TouchWiz UI (the latest version, as seen in the Galaxy Note 4).
8. Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Wait, what? Isn't the Galaxy Note 4's muscle fed by a 32-bit Snapdragon 805 processor? It sure is, but that's not all there's to it. In some parts of the world, the Galaxy Note 4 is sold with a Samsung Exynos 7 Octa processor, a state-of-the-art piece of 64-bit silicon manufactured on a 20nm process. Benchmarks show this chip almost matches the godly NVIDIA Tegra K1 and it is a bit ahead of the Snapdragon 805. But don't hurry up and return your Galaxy Note 4 yet, because it runs just fine on Qualcomm's chipset. If the Exynos was that much better, Samsung wouldn't have bothered with making two versions of the same device.
9. HTC Desire 510, 620, and 820
Staying true to its penchant for being the first to put cutting-edge technologies on the market, HTC introduced the first 64-bit Android phone, the HTC Desire 510, and quickly followed with the Desire 620 and Desire 820. The first runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, the second is based on a octa-core MediaTek MT6592, and the third packs the octa-core Snapdragon 615 SoC. The Desire 510 and Desire 820 are on sale, while the Desire 620 is being primed for an Asia launch.
10. Lenovo Vibe Z2
To end this round-up on a high note, we bring forth the Lenovo Vibe Z2, a hunk of metal that combines premium looks with mid-range specs. We're talking about a 5.5-inch 720p screen, a Snapdragon 410 64-bit processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13MP main camera, and a 3000mAh battery.