It's an ongoing battle when dealing with technology. You buy something and the next day something better comes out. The Droid is the first time I've bought a first generation product so shortly after launch. I always wait for a second or third generation to come out or wait until the first generation has been out for a while and had time to debug.
But I'm wondering, how long will it take the Droid to become obsolete beyond the point of use? I mean the Nexus One has a 1 GHz Processor compared to the Droid's 550 MHz. (Both the Droid's ARM Cortex and Nexus One's Qualcomm Snapdragon chips are based off of ARM architecture, so I'm counting them as similar, unless someone wants to correct me.)
I'm sitting here in front of a Pentium 4 with a gig of DDR2 RAM. It's my work computer. I mainly use it for writing ****. (But I'm a government worker, so your tax dollars really pay me to surf the web for a few hours a day.) And it's already obsolete with all the Core2Duo machines out there...
Back in the day, I did the same thing on a 386 with 8MB of RAM running Windows 3.1 and Word 6.0... Prior to that, an 8088 with 640K RAM running DOS 6.22 and WordPerfect 5.1... But they all got the job done and fairly efficiently, I might add.
The key was hardware limitations.
When processing power, RAM, and storage space was limited, people who wrote programming had to make their code as efficient as possible. Otherwise, the computer would respond sluggishly and productivity would drop. (Contrary to popular belief, computers were originally business machines and their primary purpose is for work... Unlike the internet, which is for porn.)
Now we've got clock speeds in the multiples of GigaHertz with over half a billion transistors and megs of instruction cache on a single chip 1" chip... We've got so many clock cycles coming out our ears that we're GIVING them away to run background processes like SETI@home and the Human Genome Project...
We've got Gigabytes of RAM coupled directly to the frontside bus and Terabytes of hard drive space... And it's getting cheaper and cheaper. Hell, you can buy this **** at Wal*Mart.
So now, coders don't have to worry about efficiency of their programs. Sloppy instructions here or there and commented out bugs here or there won't make a noticeable difference in processing time on a newer, high end machine... Who cares about the measly couple extra megs of RAM that get used when a bunch of variables get declared and then unused. We've got several gigs to go around and then we've got swap space.
All one has to do is look at the recommended system specs for the past several Operating Systems:
Windows 2000: x86 Pentium class 133MHz, 64MB RAM, 650 MB of drive space.
Windows XP: x86 Pentium class 300 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 1.5 GB of drive space.
Windows 7: x86 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of drive space.
I mean every couple years,we TRIPLE the requirements... Just to run a basic OS... No apps, just the OS.
Now it used to be that the embedded market still had to conform to efficiency standards... There's only so fast a processor and so much RAM you can run off of a battery. Not to mention heat dissipation inside an embedded device such as a phone or PDA is difficult. Flash is still more expensive than rotating disk. And bandwidth on the go is limited and a bit pricey...
But Flash is getting cheaper as is mobile bandwidth. 1xRTT was replaced with EVDO... Sprint's going WiMax... Who knows what new High speed wireless technology is going to come out next... And processor technology and RAM are advancing to make things smaller and more power efficient.
How long can we stick it out with our Droids before they become pieces of crap?
That all depends.
Load up Yahoo.com... Look at all the crap all over the screen. If you've got a Yahoo mail account, load that up... Look at all the stuff they've got. Links to other stuff, graphics...
Sure it looks nice, but it's not efficient. I'm here for mail; That's all I wanna see.
Now look at Google.com... Load up your gMail account...
Clean... No real graphics. Google is still making beaucoup bucks from advertisements, and they still have time to pop in a neat little variation on their logo for the holiday.
That's the key to making the hardware last longer.
I'm hoping google and the other Android OS and app developers keep it up.