Google Following Apple iOS and macOS By Going All 64-Bit For Android And Ditching 32-Bit Support Indicates New Emulator For v12 or ‘S’

Google appears to have taken a significant step towards improving Android at the core. An emulator for the upcoming version of Android S was found to be working without any support for 32-Bit applications. This directly means starting from Android S, all apps and support libraries will have to be compatible with 64-Bit security and protocols.

Google appears to be following Apple Inc.’s footsteps and enforcing 64-Bit Architecture throughout the Smartphone ecosystem running Android Operating System (OS). The search giant that develops and maintains the primary Android OS layer appears to have decided to go 64-Bit all the way. After enforcing 64-Bit Architecture on Android Apps through Google Play Store last year, Google seems to be transitioning the very Android OS ecosystem on 64-Bit Architecture. Needless to add, this is a very significant step towards improving the efficiency, functionality, reliability, and security of the entire Android OS ecosystem.

Google Goes Complete 64-Bit Indicates Android S x86_64 Emulator Running Without 32-Bit Support:

An emulator for Android S, a new and unreleased version of Android OS, which is expected to be released after Android 11, was found to be running entirely in 64-Bit Mode. In other words, the emulator has no support whatsoever for 32-Bit Architecture. Previous versions of Android had allowed 32-Bit applications. However, starting Android 12, all applications, platforms, and support libraries will have to be developed in 64-Bit architecture only.

It is important to note that Google had begun transitioning the Android OS ecosystem to 64-Bit last year itself. Google Play store had started enforcing 64-Bit apps on August 1, 2019. This meant all apps were supposed to work in a 64-Bit environment. Now the operating system itself will be working in a 64-Bit environment with no place for 32-Bit applications.

Mandating transition to 64-Bit has several advantages. Eliminating a compatibility layer for the older 32-bit applications will release a significant amount of RAM. This will allow application developers and OEMs to offer smartphones with better performance even with relatively lesser RAM. While new smartphones pack 4GB RAM and above, developing markets still have devices with lesser RAM.

Apart from RAM, the Android OS and support structure will take up a little less space. While the change will be rather minimal to make any noticeable impact, there was a lot of wasted space, especially for big APKs not using bundles.

Will Hardware and App Makers Be Able To Work With All 64-Bit Android?

The biggest improvement with an all 64-Bit Android will be improved security. 64-Bit Architecture is significantly more secure and reliable than 32-Bit. SoC makers like ARM will certainly welcome the step as the company’s new Cortex-A65 ships without aarch32 ISA support. Hence there are no roadblocks from OEMs and SoC makers.

Having transitioned all apps to 64-Bit, Google has ensured that the App ecosystem becomes completely functional by the time Android S rolls out. Experts indicate that currently, everything should work fine except for a few Media codecs. That’s primarily because emulated platforms don’t support the new CODEC2 standard, and fall backward to OMX, which is the old 32-bit media component. Incidentally, CODEC2 too is 32-BIT only. Simply put, there’s a lot of work still to be done to ensure all media formats play well on an all 64-Bit Android. The rest of the ecosystem is already in place.


Alap Naik Desai

A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.