29 August 2012

Too Much of a Good Thing

There's the great tag line from Scotty on "Star Trek", "I can nah make it go faster, Cap'n". Turns out, he never said exactly that. But, as mentioned in recent musing, the IT/computer world is facing a surfeit of power and a shortage of useful purpose for that power. As the saying goes, It's the Distribution, Stupid.

Back in the Goode Olde Days, Intel and MicroSoft had the symbiotic good fortune to satisfy each other's need for more of what the other had to offer. To the extent that Office owns the Fortune X00 offices, the PC turnover will continue for a while. Whether MicroSoft can find a way to chew up more (parallel) cycles remains to be seen.

But what is now apparent is that the mobile phone world, surprise!!, has entered that Twilight Zone. Here's a new review of an LG phone, the Optimus 4X HD.
Honestly, Tegra 3 hasn't done anything for me that OMAP4 and Exynos 4210 weren't already able to do just fine. So while it's awesome that quad-cores have come to phones, I'm not certain that it'll change your smartphone usage patterns significantly unless you have a specific need for a ton of compute horsepower.

If you read the whole review, there's creepy crawlies afoot for both hardware vendors (parts is parts), software (Google and MicroSoft), and phone assemblers (Apple is just that, too).
The only way the O4X HD significantly changed my usage patterns, actually, were related to battery life. Or, to be more accurate, the lack of it. It's a phone that's pretty brutal on battery, between the quad-core and the 4.7" IPS display, so I wasn't expecting anything great to begin with. But connected to 3G, I was averaging roughly 24 hours of *standby* time. That means screen off, sync off, everything off - just with the phone sitting there doing nothing.

Having just gotten an LG Lucid (one of the freebies on the Verizon upgrade), yeah LG phones seem to be battery shy. And for someone who just wants to make a few damn phone calls...

It makes one wonder how long planned obsolescence can succeed? Who, with what, will be the next Great Cycle Sink for mobile phones? I recall a scene from a later "X-Files" episode where Mulder is seen walking, wearing his trenchcoat. You hear a phone ring, and Mulder pulls one of these up to his ear.

(Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first private handheld mobile phone call on a larger prototype model in 1973. This is a reenactment in 2007, Wiki)

As the current notion of what the purpose of a mobile entertainment device morphs, how soon will we be lugging things that big around? Hell, an iPad has nearly the same bulk.

The original Razr, while not always bullet proof, is still the best design for making mobile phone calls.

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