Moore’s Law started as the prediction that transistor densities would double every year, thus doubling performance, while it’s now the notion – often proven – that computers get faster every year. It’s because of Moore’s Law that within two years of buying a new smartphone, laptop, or tablet, it’s obsolete because there’s something faster, better, and cheaper out there. The argument is whether or not Moore’s Law applies to smartwatches, which are already small but pack an enormous tech punch.
The Secret’s in the Sensors
Image via Flickr by Janitors
One of the main reasons why Moore’s Law doesn’t apply to smartwatches is because the sensors – the abilities, the add-ons, the bells, and the whistles – matter more to most people who buy and proudly wear their tech. Consumers recognize the trade-off. In terms of small tech, smartwatches are comparably tiny, and never mind that even the smallest of the smartest watches are still bigger than their ticking analog counterparts. It doesn’t matter, because there’s so much stuff packed into smartwatches.
Tech lovers are crazy about having GPS on their wrists. They love wearing a watch that monitors their heart rates. Smartwatches have microphones, for goodness’ sake. It’s like living in James Bond land.
The Performance Depends on the Size
There are limits to how small a device can be while still providing optimal performance. To make calls, listen to music, or even connect to Wi-Fi with a wearable, the watch has to have a certain amount of space. While smaller watches are certainly possible, shrinking them any more could mean sacrificing their performance.
As it stands, if you have a smartwatch, such as the ZTE Quartz from T-Mobile, you’re getting several things. First of all, you get a watch that’s sleek and, frankly, cool. Secondly, your watch connects to your phone, your Bluetooth devices, and the internet, and you can receive texts on your wrist. Third of all, you get all the benefits of T-Mobile’s network, which means that your smartwatch is always connected, so you’re always available and always in touch, even if you want to spend a day without your phone in your hand. Would you want to give up any of those features for something smaller?
Although not every smartwatch owner feels the same, most people want others to see what’s on their wrists. They want to share their tech. The concept is such an innovative one that many smartwatch wearers are more than happy to demonstrate what their wearable tech can do.
The new generation of smartwatches is not ostentatiously big. Most of the size revolves around the watch face, which is the perfect size. If it got much smaller, no one could read the text on the screen. The idea that smaller is better in terms of tech items doesn’t always ring true. Sometimes, smaller is impractical. A new gadget is only as good as its popularity and functionality. People will stop buying something once it’s no longer useful, fun, or easy to use, and they don’t want to spend all their time squinting at their wrists.
Smartwatches Stand Apart
Consumers knew what they were getting with the launch of smartwatches, for the most part. They didn’t expect teeny, tiny screens. The sales prove it. Where it took popular tech gadgets such as MP3 players and smartphones a while to catch on with the masses, smartwatches are still disappearing off the shelves as fast as they’re stocked.
Moore’s Law Is on Its Last Legs
Moore’s Law is steadily dying. It’s over 50 years old, and it’s in its death throes because it’s reaching its limit. Without it, the world wouldn’t have smartwatches, but smartwatches helped to sound its death knell. Tech can’t get much smaller without degrading itself and its functionality. Wearables will probably get a bit more minute in the next few years, but as it stands, it seems almost impossible to build something smaller than a smartwatch that’s still capable of all the same things.
Some engineers think that Moore’s Law won’t survive the next decade. It isn’t just the fear of losing function in wearable tech that’s killing it, however. The economy plays a part, as well, adding to the physical challenges of making watches any tinier than they already are. Besides, the world’s moving in a different direction. By 2020 or 2030, computers might use carbon nanotubes instead of silicon chips.
Do you think Moore’s Law applies to wearable tech? What would you give up for a smaller smartwatch?
By Ryan Tyson