A personal thought : mobility, energy & societyFabian Piau | Wednesday June 2nd, 2010 - 05:29 PM
Let’s go a step back in time, a decade ago. And remember, (perhaps!) you were walking in the IT department of a major computer retailer. The laptops section was rather cramped compared to that of desktop computers. There were maybe two or three models at the most that would cost you a fortune for low performance.
But times are changing. Now, the IT department is full of laptops, netbooks, media tablets and other latest fashion technology. From now on, the desktop computers section is limited to a few models which are mainly designed for hardcore gamers… At the same time, the difference between a cellphone and a computer is vanishing. To phone is the primary function and becomes also the only difference.
Workplace is not lagging behind. For instance, it is common for companies to provide laptops to their employees.
Is this only a fad? This is certainly the case for some people but, generally speaking, mobile computing has become essential in our society. Computer hardware is constantly evolving to become ever more efficient and miniaturized. The software and hardware frontiers are constantly pushed back. For example, majority of cellphones now have touch screens and 3D television is finally coming to our homes. All things considered, the movie “Minority Report” directed by Steven Spielberg is not so far from reality (apart from the precognition of course).
More recently, “iPad” release has been one of the most important events worldwide this month. Apple succeeds in making an incredible marketing ploy based on innovation, keystone to its success. Endless queues, shortages, camping out (some people did not hesitate to pitch their tents outside of the famous “Apple Stores”, in order to be one of the first to reach the “holy grail”). The world is really turning upside down.
But there is still the flipside of the coin! Thus, a permanent internet connection, a high resolution touch screen and so on are very energy-consuming. Unfortunately, this in one major area where technology is not ready yet. Indeed, lithium batteries which are used in electronic devices in a long time seem to be outdated.
The battery is one of the most important component in the device but is also its biggest weakness. Thus, it is necessary to plug in the mobile device to charge its battery. In the worst case, you need to charge the battery once a day because your device consumes too much power. When you think about it, you realize that it goes against the main device’s feature which is to bring it with you everywhere without restraint.
On the other hand, some major manufacturers make unexpected and drastic decisions. When the battery is deficient, they choose to replace the whole product, rather than by fixing or replacing the battery. That raises the environmental issue, that has been discussed over the past few years and concerns all of us. It should be noted that the technology has become disposable. This situation is quite alarming, and especially sad when we know that this how we stimulate our economy…