MediaTek upgrades to 64-bit Android only with Dimensity 9200

Google has been moving Android to a 64-bit-only future for years, but the process has been slow. After Pixel 7 blocked 32-bit app installation last month, MediaTek partially dropped hardware support for 32-bit on the Dimensity 9200, bringing Android one step closer to a 64-bit-only future.

The MediaTek Dimensity 9200 is a chipset designed for high-end Android phones, and it brings many firsts, including Arm’s new Cortex-X3 core, Wi-Fi 7 support, and more. But it will also be one of the first chips to drop 32-bit support more significantly, which will impact future Android phones.

Related: MediaTek Dimensity 9200 packs Cortex-X3, mmWave 5G, Immortalis GPU with raytracing

Reiterated at today’s MediaTek Executive Summit, the company confirmed that the Dimensity 9200 is dropping 32-bit support on its “performance” cores. This refers to the main Cortex-X3 core as well as the Cortex-A715 cores. The company also noted this for Android Authority earlier this week.

What does it mean? While the Dimensity 9200 Is supports 32-bit applications, it is only with the least powerful cores. Android as a whole, as mentioned, has been heading towards a 64-bit-only future for quite some time, but this is a major step towards that.

The Google Pixel 7 blocks 64-bit apps at the software level, with the Tensor G2 chip under the hood technically still offering support. Google explained that removing 64-bit support resulted in better overall performance. New processors running 64-bit code see 25% better performance and Android as a system uses 150MB less RAM at all times. MediaTek, however, Most likely won’t see the benefit of RAM given that the chip still supports 32-bit on its lower cores. It will likely be up to device makers to block 32-bit at the software level to see the gains Google is referring to.

MediaTek somewhat backs up Google’s claims about dropping 32-bit and how it will affect the performance of the Dimensity 9200. The company cites an LZBench benchmark that tests data compression speed. MediaTek says compression is 92% faster with 64-bit over 32-bit and 80% faster when decompressing.

During the presentation, MediaTek pointed out that the side effects of this change would be minimal. Google has required apps in the Play Store to support 64-bit for some time, and the company is working to make sure that’s true. The Play Console app was recently updated with 64-bit support, as was the old Pebble app.

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