After Apple announced this week that the A7 chip in its iPhone 5s will be the first 64-bit smartphone processor Relevant Products/Services on the market, Samsung revealed on Wednesday that future Galaxy handsets will also go 64-bit.

And once again the South Korean electronics giant is taking on rival Apple. The news comes from a Samsung executive speaking at his regular weekly meeting with chief executives of Samsung's key affiliates in Seoul, as reported in The Korean Times.

Samsung's co-CEO Shin Jong-kyun said upcoming Samsung Galaxy smartphones will have 64-bit processing capabilities. The Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 run 32-bit processors.

Not in the Shortest Time

So when is Samsung letting its 64-bit smartphone out of the gate? No specific date was given. When asked about timing, the Samsung executive said, "Not in the shortest time. But yes, our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality."

Some market watchers guess a 64-bit smartphone from Samsung will be forthcoming some time next year. Consumers by then will have been exposed to a lot of marketing information about how 64-bit processors can translate into actions they can enjoy, namely that their smartphones will be more powerful and faster.

The iPhone 5s from Apple will be driven by an ARM-based A7 processor that will handle code for more demanding applications, including high-end games. Apple trumpeted its A7 chip as ushering in 64-bit "desktop-class architecture" to a smartphone for the first time.

"With up to twice the CPU and graphics performance, almost everything you do on iPhone 5S is faster and better than ever, from launching apps and editing photos to playing graphic-intensive games -- all while delivering great battery life," according to Apple.

Wait, Just a Mobile Moment

Processors with a 64-bit address space have been seen in desktops and servers, not mobile Relevant Products/Services devices, which typically use 32-bit chips. Apple told its launch audience on Tuesday that its iOS 7 was engineered to support the A7 chip's 64-bit architecture.

Nonetheless, techies on the we-know-the-plumbing level are crying "pause." Switching a mobile phone over to accommodate a 64-bit chip inside the device is not trivial, and requires a real overhaul of the device's engineering.

Samsung will likewise need to perform some serious engineering to make the 64-bit processor show end results. Samsung watchers are also asking what path the electronics giant would take, whether it would be applied to Tizen, the company's open source operating system -- said to be a back-up plan -- or wait for Google to make Android compatible with its 64-bit needs.

There is also the challenge in pushing third-party developers -- with the exception of those working on video games and 3D animations who would be more eager to work with processor-intensive programs -- toward a 64-bit environment when many devices still rely on 32-bit chips.