Monday, April 23, 2012

ARM and the return of the hardware hacker

Technology innovation has in a sense returned to the good old days where hardware and software had far less of a division between them. When Apple and Microsoft initially launched it was a huge gamble on Bill Gates' part to believe software had value in itself, and even then initially had to secure a deal with IBM as a partner for the hardware portion of his business plan. It wasn't until later that software was licensed on it's own as a separate and valuable product.

The big question in technology circles has been "is the desktop dead?", and in sense it surely is. The transition will take some time but it hasn't simply just been replaced by the tablet or the phone, it has been replaced by a completely new era in small, energy efficient and powerful hardware. It has reinvigorated device innovation and made it affordable for the casual hobbiest. Occupy Wall Street's 'Occucopter' is a great example of the innovation which can be applied by pretty well anyone now at a fraction of the cost of traditional innovation.

Therefore to me it is not a question of "is the desktop dead?" but rather "when will we start seeing ARM desktops?". Although "desktop" probably won't be fitting as I anticipate modular devices such as the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. I also anticipate that sooner or later you will see clustered devices. Imagine the phone you have now, but with an additional docking station which has it's own processor setup: plug in your phone and quadrouple the power or expand the display. These are the sorts of devices I anticipate are coming down the tubes.


We're well into a new era of technological innovation, and as a result our technology level has become a whole lot more "futuristic". Some notable inventions I've seen lately:
To just name a few... It should be no surprise that these devices are coming shortly after a major advancement in processing technology. It's not that the desktop is dead, it's that technological innovation has moved beyond doubling speed or doubling cores. We've re-entered an age of rapid technological advancement which should leave plenty of opportunity for all should you know where to look and what to expect.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for CenturyLink

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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