Monday, February 27, 2012

Dark Silicon Followup

Something I saw this last week that prompted me to think about dark silicon again was a project Ubuntu is working on, where you have a phone that is mostly a normal Android phone, but when you plug it into a computer screen and keyboard it can act as a full desktop operating system.  Since a modern smartphone is much more powerful than the desktops of ages past, and since we tend to do more and more things on far away servers, this seems like it might be a model for the future of computing.  You computer fits in your pocket and you use it as a phone most of the time, but then you plug it into some sort of dock and it becomes your desktop.

But it strikes me that in a future like that you're likely to have a bunch of computational resources sitting there in your phone that only light up when the phone has access to a hefty power source.  Heat dissipation out of the phone will still be a hard limitation since there's no way you can fit a fan in a phone form factor, but there's still room for quite a bump.

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