Samsung has confirmed its next high-end smartphones will feature 64-bit processors.
The announcement follows the launch of the iPhone 5S, the first handset to include the technology.
Apple boasted its A7 chip offered "desktop-class architecture".
However, experts say most apps are unlikely to see much immediate benefit from the shift from 32-bit tech and that it could introduce compatibility problems in the future.
The number of bits in relation to a microprocessor affects size of numbers with which it can deal.
For example, the amount of memory that can be directly accessed without data having to be swapped back and forth.
In the case of 32-bit architecture, the amount of memory than can be addressed is two to the power of 32, in other words 4.3 billion values or four gigabytes of memory.
In the case of 64-bit architecture the processor can theoretically address 18,400,000 trillion values.
If a program has been written to take advantage of a 64-bit operating system, it should mean the processor can access data that is in this larger memory rather than retrieving it from, for example, the hard disk. This speeds up the whole processing chain.
As a result the processor can take advantage of machines with more physical memory.