Moore’s Law Is No Joke — Pile Of Electronics From 1993 Fits In Your Palm Today

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There’s nothing like a well-conceived picture to drive a point home. You know the point, right? Sure you do. (Hint: It's in the title.)

Shall we run through these items? (I don’t even know if I can run through them—feel free to leave details/corrections/reminiscences in the comments!) Far right first. Easy. That’s a top-of-the-line Sony Walkman. You could take it with you running, which accounts for the sporty lemon yellow hue. (It plays cassette tapes, kids.)

Next up is a Polaroid instant camera and what…a carphone? Dominating the middle area there is an early Mac laptop, a digital watch, and a pager. Moving counterclockwise we’ve got a JVC camcorder, and that beautiful piece of clunk on the far left is an early Apple PDA, deliciously named the Apple Newton.

Together these items played music on the go (limited to one tape), took pictures on the go (limited to one roll of film), made phone calls (limited by biceps strength), did computer-y stuff (very, very slowly), told you the time and woke you in the morning, alerted you to find a phone to call someone (said phone was usually plugged into a wall and sometimes accepted quarters), took video (and played it back), and recorded notes and names and addresses.

The smartphone on the bottom there doesn’t just do all that—it does it all as good or better at a fraction of the size and cost. And these are just a few of the physical items “absorbed” into smartphones. Other examples include flashlights, maps, mail, books, handheld video games, calendars, guitar tuners…the list goes on.

Moral of the story? Moore’s Law is no joke, and it’s coming soon to an industry near you.

Image Credit: ImTheGuyWhoLovesGems/Reddit

Jason Dorrier

Jason is managing editor of Singularity Hub. He cut his teeth doing research and writing about finance and economics before moving on to science, technology, and the future. He is curious about pretty much everything, and sad he'll only ever know a tiny fraction of it all.

Discussion — 12 Responses

  • Lou Nisbet May 1, 2013 on 1:07 pm

    Except that there should be TWO mobile phones. As dual sim card phones are MORE readily available

  • Tracy R. Atkins May 1, 2013 on 1:11 pm

    To take it further, you could have also included;

    A Television
    A Map, Compass, and Altimeter
    A Weather Vane
    A Flashlight
    An Entire Public Library
    An Address Book
    A Typewriter
    A Video Game Console
    A Butler
    A Pile of Retail Store Catalogs
    And a Hockey Puck

  • Dave Sill May 1, 2013 on 1:22 pm

    You forgot the Garmin/TomTom/etc satnav.

  • Nancy Babyak May 1, 2013 on 1:22 pm

    What about an SLR that can handle hi-res photos… wouldn’t that be a better analogy for the photo capabilities… since a smart phone can’t spit out a printed picture like a polaroid… at least not yet.

    • digi_owl Nancy Babyak May 1, 2013 on 2:21 pm

      But you can instantly see and share the photos you have taken, even tho they are not in hardcopy. You could not do that with a SLR, but you could do so with a polaroid.

    • Sunshine2047 Nancy Babyak May 2, 2013 on 1:31 am

      It is quite apparent that lens tech doesn’t follow the Moore’s Law as the sensor chip does 😉

  • Brady Hurst May 1, 2013 on 1:33 pm

    I’d also add: a map, a compass, a flashlight, an encyclopedia, a heart rate monitor, a VHS player, a GIANT stack of CD’s, perhaps a pile of 30 200MB hard drives, an SNES, and a newspaper. There would be more, but a 1993 laptop could do a few things.

  • andy_permutation May 1, 2013 on 3:02 pm

    Imagine in 20 years more in the future…..

  • davidflynn May 21, 2013 on 11:54 am

    I used to have one of those calculator watches. Remember that? I got caught cheating in math class. Now, it’s expected to cheat in class with technology. What a farce.

    • DylanWeinberger davidflynn May 24, 2013 on 7:46 am

      Is it really cheating though? When are kids ever going to be without the technology that allows them to do those calculations in the real world. Instead tests and education should be focused on higher levels of thinking than that, that can be easily reproduced with a calculator.

  • Kazunori Saito March 10, 2016 on 7:56 pm

    Wallet & Credit Card for sure.