64-bit ARM Servers coming Sooner than expected, thanks to Apple A7 waking up the 64-bit opportunity

CNET has a post on 64-bit ARM processors catching ARM and other fabs flat footed.

Phone and tablet makers are rushing to embrace 64-bit designs, surprising even those executives behind the chip platform.

Tom Lantzsch, ARM's executive vice president of corporate strategy, spoke with CNET after the company reported first-quarter earnings on Wednesday.

ARM supplies virtually all of the basic processor designs for phones and tablets running on Android.

"Certainly, we've had big uptick in demand for mobile 64-bit products. We've seen this with our [Cortex] A53, a high-performance 64-bit mobile processor," he said.

This caught the chip designer's executives off guard, as they believed that 64-bit ARM would only be needed for corporate servers in the initial phase of the technology's rollout.

"We've been surprised at the pace that [64-bit] is now becoming mobile centric. Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Marvell are examples of public 64-bit disclosures," he said.

Past assumptions is only large memory addressing would address the need for 64 bit chips.  But, thanks to Apple’s A7 the market has found a new feature to differentiate on.

This echoes comments from a Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. executive last week, who said the conversion to 64-bit has in the mobile device industry accelerated in the last six months after Apple made its 64-bit A7 processor -- also an ARM design -- announcement.

How soon are the 64-bit chips showing up?  By Christmas.

So, when will the transition to 64-bit processors happen for Android phones and tablets?

"We believe the capability will be there for a 64-bit phone by Christmas," he said, referring to phones and tablets with 64-bit bit processors.