in Mobile Phones

Is It Time To Waste Transistors In Mobile Phones?

Yesterday night I was sitting on the sofa reading the March issue of the wired magazine.

One of the most interesting article was one titled “Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business“.

Citing the article, this is an interesting passage:

Forty years ago, Caltech professor Carver Mead identified the corollary to Moore’s law of ever-increasing computing power. Every 18 months, Mead observed, the price of a transistor would halve. And so it did, going from tens of dollars in the 1960s to approximately 0.000001 cent today for each of the transistors in Intel’s latest quad-core. This, Mead realized, meant that we should start to “waste” transistors.

As explained in the article with the sentence “waste transistors” professor Mead wanted to say that in early times of the computer history hardware was very expensive and limited. Programmers had to be very clever in order to save any possible bit concentrating more on making their programming task efficient and as ligh as possible. This led to great attention on how tasks were implemented and no attention at all at how the user would interact with the machine.

When hardware price finally dropped, programmers could concentrate more on the user interface side being sure that the machine their applications were running on were fast enough.

This finally brought to market the hardware and interfaces we know today.

I think that the same story can be applied to Mobile Phones.

When mobile phone were born they were running on non really capable microprocessor. Programmers had to cope with these limitation and focus more on accomplishing the mission of designing a working device than delivering an eye candy user interface or applications.

Basically in the early stage of the mobile technology the only thing the phone had to do was allowing the customer to make a phone call.

Nowadays we can find on the market mobile phone that have the very same computing power of not so old personal computers.

I think it is definitely time to “Waste transistors” also on mobile phones.