What’s exciting now in terms of hardware?

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I lusted after many of these, but I only just had a few. So what’s exciting now in terms of hardware? Personally I love what Samsung has done with the Edge. I have 7 more days to decide whether to stick with my new Lenovo Yoga Book or not, which more or less reminds me of my old netbook but it’s seriously light and thin with instant on and great battery life! (I have the Android Version.) So why is there so little innovation in terms of hardware these days? Or maybe there is and I’m just not seeing it? Or maybe it’s more internal rather than external? Or maybe the change has moved more towards accessories like smart watches etc. vboelema

A very good point. The industry has settled on slabs that are as much screen as possible with the occasional tweak coming in phones like the Samsung Edge.

The question is, and it’s a very hard one to answer, what can manufacturers possibly do to make their hardware unique and easier to use than a plain slab of screen? I am struggling to think of anything apart from a fold-out hardware keyboard, but those days seems to have gone already.

6 thoughts on “What’s exciting now in terms of hardware?

  1. Not much to do, IMO – interfaces are now virtual, and I think the more interesting work will be done on screen.

    But one charitable interpretation of the drive for “thinness at all costs” in phones (beyond it just being an ego and prestige thing) is that the phones are thin enough that it’s less “phone and cover” and “phone and (optional) outer shell”. And you see a little innovation still happening there, like my GF is very “Loopy” phone case.

    I guess that’s another reason why I’m not a fan of edge to edge design… to me it feels like a prestige gimmick that both gives you less grip without a case, and limits protective case design if you use one.

  2. There’s still a lot of innovation going on inside but that rarely gets headlines. It will take something new to get that excitement back. I suppose smart watches were supposed to do that and maybe they still will. I expect wearables like the descendants of Google Glass will be available in the next few years.

    1. Hm, makes me wonder about my old questions about Moore’s Law, trying to get a feel for if what looks from the outside as a smoothed out series of improvement was actually a bunch of medium-small manufacturing breakthroughs.

      And of course now that Moore’s Law is slowing down (and still looking for its buddy in the battery world)… a 5 year old laptop hardly feels worse than a new one, and pretty much same for a phone (except any given actual phone gets beat up and poorer battery over that time)

      As for Google Glass… oy, I dunno. The limited success of smart watches, combined with the privacy and looking-like-a-dork concerns of Glass makes me think they REALLY need a killer app before people will adopt in droves. (Personally I think helping people match names and faces could be it, but again, that’s where privacy is such a killer)

      1. I look at Moore’s Law in two ways. One is the traditional getting more into a chip. The other is the overall power of a PC. That includes the GPU as well as the CPU. Unless you’re strictly heavy number crunching, adding more CPU power doesn’t really do much for you. You can’t type any faster. Displaying text seems immediate, and so on. But for graphically intensive work like games or photo editing, the GPU becomes much more important, and those seem to be getting more noticeably powerful all the time.

        I think we’ll see some company, probably not Apple, make a leap with smart watches like Apple did with the iPhone. Google Glass was intro technology. In some ways it’s like Apple Watch. Too noticeable for many people. Now it’s a question of making the concept work in the real world. I can see an add-on for people who already wear glasses or sunglasses that’s unobtrusive. Maybe connected to your smart phone for the heavy lifting. And at some point, the circuitry will be small enough to add to contact lenses.

      2. But I’ve been editing highres photos on cheap laptops without too much hassle for a long while… similarly, while it’s steps behind the highest end PCs, I’m hard-pressed to spot what’s different between games on my Xbox One and my Xbox 360. Things feel like they’ve really hit a plateau – some of that’s “well things are ‘good enough'”, lets focus on power consumption etc, and some of that’s hitting bad quantum limits in how small you can sketch pathways on a chip…

        Anyways, good thoughts. Shaun has attracted a nice bunch here, just to toot our own horns.

      3. Toot toot 🙂

        I have a fully loaded 27″ Retina iMac. My retirement gift to myself. In the photo editing arena, I’ve been using ON1 Photo Raw. I can edit and adjust RAW images with little or no delay. Similarly, I can play most current games at high or ultra quality at 50-60 fps. For that I credit my graphics card.

        The other thing that’s happening is multiple cores. We’re into parallel processing. So you may not notice a difference if you’re only doing one thing, but if you have multiple apps on the go at once, or an app itself uses multi-threading, the multiple cores make a big difference.

        But I do see what you mean. My son has a PS4 and sees no reason to move to the Pro version. And he hasn’t upgraded his PC in years.

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