I’m taking it easy because I just had my lower wisdom teeth extracted this morning. In case you’re wondering, I’m feeling fine. Really great, actually, considering I was told I’d feel like hell. Anyway, since I’m making a point of doing nothing today (and probably most of the weekend) I thought I’d write about something that has been annoying me about smartphones.
It seems intentional to me that smartphones are given cripplingly little RAM. We are now seeing the first phones with multi-core processors on board. But those same phones are only now pushing the 1GB mark for RAM. I am more than happy with the single core, 1GHz Hummingbird processor in my Droid Charge. But 512MB of RAM? Really?
When was the last time you used a modern, traditional form computer with only 512MB of RAM? I’m going to just throw out a number: 10 years. In addition, we always had the option of upgrading our traditional computers.
So why are these modern personal computers crippled?
I think this is an especially egregious short-coming because we expect our phones to do so much. I need it to MapMyRun while still monitoring and pushing messages from my email, Twitter, Facebook. Oh, and I’m listening to music while I run, so it needs to play my media smoothly. If I see something while I’m out on my run, I need instant access to my camera too.
Right now my phone is connected to my home wi-fi network but I have no apps open. It says I am using 206MB of RAM, leaving me with only 100MB should I want to actively use some of the many capabilities of this powerful little device.
It doesn’t take much for me to get this little device to stutter and bog down.
Really, I don’t understand why 1GB is only now becoming the standard. Why weren’t we cramming 2 gigs of memory in these things from the get-go. I am going to go ahead and thank Apple for starting the race at a pathetic 128MB.
So, yeah, the immediate solution is for device manufacturers to start putting more memory into new phones. But, the long-term trend that has yet to even begin is user-upgradeable devices. Hopefully within the next couple of years it will be as trivial to pop open my device and double the processing memory as it is to do the same to my little netbook.