Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Apple’s 64-bit chip ‘gimmick’ is just about to deliver a huge blow to 2015’s iPhone rivals

Published Jan 8th, 2015 1:35PM EST
Galaxy S6 and LG G4 Release Dates
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

When Apple launched the iPhone 5s in late 2013, it sported a special 64-bit processor that was unlike anything seen on a mobile device. At the time, many said the feature wasn’t really needed, with Qualcomm going as far as calling the chip a “marketing gimmick,” before retracting that statement. Since then, all of Apple’s competitors have released 64-bit mobile processors of their own, including Qualcomm… except now things aren’t going exactly as planned for the Snapdragon chipset maker.

FROM EARLIER: Next year’s iPhone killers are already in trouble

The Korea Times has learned that the Snapdragon 810, which should come with the Galaxy S6, LG G4 and plenty of other flagship Android handsets later this year, is facing several performance issues that might significantly push back the launch of these devices.

Previous reports have also claimed that Qualcomm’s top processor for 2015 has certain problems, but the company was quick to deny them. Since then, LG has gone ahead and announced the G Flex 2 at CES 2015, a device that’s also supposed to make use of the same processor, and which should launch at some point in the coming months.

But Korea Times insists that the Snapdragon 810 issues are real, further detailing them.

“Problems such as overheating at certain voltages and performance degradation caused by memory controller problems have been reported, and its clock rate, an index representing a processor’s performance, was estimated to be lower than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 805,” the publication writes.

“An uncontrollable limitation of processing speed to prevent overheating has been pointed out. According to the mobile chipset benchmark Geekbench, the Snapdragon 810 had a serious ‘throttling’ problem that forcibly limits the graphic processing performance when it overheats.”

Three J.P. Morgan analysts confirmed these issues, according to Barrons, saying they were spotted both on the Snapdragon 615 and 810 starting with December.

“For the Snapdragon 810, a flagship chip for use in high-end models, we believe the issues are related to the implementation of new 64-bit ARM cores (A57), which is causing overheating when accelerating above 1.2-1.4 GHz frequencies, which is a major limitation for a flagship phone,” the analysts said.

To fix the issues, Qualcomm might need to come up with a different version of the Snapdragon 810, which could delay the launch of several top Android flagship phones by three full months. Analysts expect Qualcomm to require one month for prototyping and design fixes and two more months for completing the metal mask layers in final production.

Even though Samsung can afford to include its own chips in the Galaxy S6 and launch the phone according to its own internal schedule, other Android device makers including LG might have to either wait for the Snapdragon 810 to be fixed, or choose a different top smartphone chip from the competition.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.