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Linux ARM development hurries 64-bit Android release

Linux developers working on software, tools and drivers for ARM architecture could speed up the arrival of a 64-bit version of Android that is rumoured to be on the horizon for later on this year.

Related: Samsung will have 64-bit chips once Android is ready

Linaro, an open source development consortium for Linux on ARM, could help to speed up the introduction of 64-bit Android smartphones if software, drivers and tools are ready ahead of the 64-bit version of the Android OS being released.

"Clearly, our members want to work together on common Android software for ARMv8 so that when it is released by Google, we can accelerate deployment,” said George Grey at the Linaro Connect Asia 2014 developer conference in Macau, according to PC World.

Linaro works on Linux kernal contributions associated with the ARMv8 instruction set architecture that is utilised by various 64-bit mobile chips that have already been announced by its members the include Qualcomm, MediaTek and Advanced Micro Devices. Other members of Linaro include Samsung, IBM, ARM Holdings, LG Electronics, Canonical, Nokia, Facebook and Hewlett-Packard.

What’s unclear is whether the manufacturers will choose to release 64-bit handsets before Android is ready and one of the suggestions is that 64-bit smartphones that can still run 32-bit will be released before being upgraded once the OS is capable.

Grey for one is confident enough to back a 64-bit Android OS and puts his faith in it after a year that saw Apple release the first mobile to run with a 64-bit architecture.

"This year is ... going to be the year of 64-bit in mobile following on from what Apple did last year with the first 64-bit mobile phone,” Grey said.

Linaro’s over-riding priority is to make contributions for a 64-bit Android and in this regard it keeps Google constantly updated on developments. To further hasten the implementation Grey needs more companies to bring out hardware so that the code can be successfully tested and this is something that worries him.

"They are not fast and they do not have the functionality of a real piece of hardware,” Grey said. “There’s not a lot of time left. Initial hardware devices are going to hit the market very soon and the software has to be really good.”

Related: The reasons why Samsung’s Galaxy S5 doesn’t need a 64-bit processor

Google could end up releasing a 64-bit version of Android at the Google I/O conference later this year and it’ll be more surprising if it doesn’t hit the market n 2014.