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System Integration Leads to MegaFunction Gadgets 104

nanotrends writes "The IEEE Spectrum is running a piece entitled 'Moore's Law Meets Its Match', about the system-on-package (SOP) approach to technology. The (SOP) approach combines Integrated Circuits (ICs) with micrometer-scale thin-film versions of discrete components, and it embeds everything in a new type of package so small that eventually handhelds will become anything from multi-to megafunction devices. This integration is actually developing at a rate faster than Moore's law." From the article: "SOP technology represents a radically different approach to systems. It shrinks bulky circuit boards with their many components and makes them nearly disappear. In effect, SOP sets up a new law for system integration. It holds that as the components shrink and the boards all but disappear, the component density will double every year or so, and the number of system functions in an SOP package will increase in the same proportion."
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System Integration Leads to MegaFunction Gadgets

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  • Yeah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Crowhead ( 577505 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:54PM (#15491205)
    I liked my cell phone better when it just made phone calls. Smaller is better, but like Windows and even Linux these days, you shouldn't just cram stuff in because you can.
    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:12PM (#15491285)
      If they can make the guts of a phone so small that they can put 10 of them inside a case that is just big enough for me to comfortably dial, that's great.

      The real problem is that there isn't room for different interfaces on that box.

      The interface for a phone is different than the interface on your iPod. So even though you can cram the guts from both of them in the same physical box, you cannot do so while maintaining the interface of each.

      The same with adding a camera to them. The same with adding a PDA. The same with adding a game machine. It's really all about the interface (once you've solve the reliability issues). And right now, there isn't any way to get different physical interfaces on the device.
      • That's why we need a direct-to-brain interface to overcome the limitations of physical interfaces.
        • Cell phones don't have to be as small as they are; the hand-set size of ancient rotary-dial phones was that size for a reason.
          Well, if that size was used as a grip behind the body of the unit (with various hardware inside it, of course), then the face of the unit could be a fairly decent-sized touch-screen.
          It can even be a decently low-power screen, once companies like this one [eink.com] and this one [archive.org] and this one [qualcomm.com] finish their R&D in things like full-color and size-scaling.

          I'd also like to mention that There
      • What if you came out with face plates for this new multifunctional device?

        So you have a phone, pda, game machine,camera, gps, and ipod all in one device...If you could come up with either sliding interface components or snap on plates(sorta like the the stylish color plates for cell phones), only one would have a qwerty plate, game controller plate, tv remote plate, mp3 plate, PDA plate etc..

        or just go with a touch screen which could mimic multiple interface options..granted it's not the same as having a ni
      • JJust use laser projection? Combine http://www.virtualdevices.net/ [virtualdevices.net] with laser projection and you'd have an interface nearly anywhere. Granted you'd need a surface to project on but in the urban environment that shouldn't be too hard to find. That and with spoken commands you should be able to control the device just fine.
    • i take it you dont want a new laptop/cellphone/digitalcamera/webcam/gps/pda/wali e-talkie-gmrs/ all in one super duper megagadget
      • Ofcourse he would not, you have just made a worthless compilation of devices. A laptop and a PDA? Lap and Palm? How small is this laptop to fit in your palm, and how big is your PDA to have a comfortable keybaord? Laptop and cellphone? what do you do to answer a call? Lift the lid? How fast does your system boot? Fast enough to answer? Why not embed giant trousers with giant pockets to fit your sophesticated cell phone? Think of it once more, not all combination are worthy. And unworhty embedded devices a
    • Re:Yeah (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LoRdTAW ( 99712 )
      I agree with you somewhat but it all comes down to what functions are practicle. I used to have a camera phone but the pictures it took were crap compared to my 4MP canon cam. Now I just have a simple phone that I have a few custom ringers I made on it as well as a wall paper, phone book and clock. It has gps but I prefer gps on a larger screen.

      My thing is if they got camera/multimedia phones right like:
      -High quality camera with at leat 2MP or 1600x1200
      -removable flash card that stores the pictures
      -external
      • "My thing is if they got camera/multimedia phones right like:
        -High quality camera with at leat 2MP or 1600x1200
        -removable flash card that stores the pictures
        -external screen that acts like a viewfinder, great for taking pictures of yourself with someone
        -simple usb connectivity
        -an mp3 player that also works off the flash card that would work on a bluetooth stereo headset that auto pauses the music on a call. I could ride my bike with my phone in my bag listening to some tunes and take a call easily without f
      • Re:Yeah (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zippthorne ( 748122 )
        Frankly, if they're going to put a camera in it, i'd rather have a high quality 640x480 resolution. Pictures of that size are absolutely fine for most purposes if they are taken with a low noise imager with appropriate optics and aren't compressed as all get-up. If all you want is to share some cameos on the web or print off some 4x6s for the family, a good 640x480 is actually a lot better than a poorly designed 5MP camera.

        but wouldn't you rather have a really really tiny phone which you can add those thi
        • but wouldn't you rather have a really really tiny phone which you can add those things through equally tiny modular attachments if you so desire?

          Not really. It's hard enough to carry around all the chotchkies that go with my current gadgets. Each one needs a slew of accessories if I want it to be fully functional, like memory card readers, USB charging cables or AC adapters, etc. You'd be replacing the problem of carrying several gadgets with the problem of carrying a small purse-sized case of attachm

    • Re:Yeah (Score:2, Interesting)

      by daniel422 ( 905483 )
      Actually smaller is worse. It's cheaper, yes, becasue it's less silicon area, but the smaller you get, the more issues you have in creating the chip, and coupling issues with high-speed lines in closer proximity, the less reliable it tends to be.
      The semiconductor industry is also continuously updating silicon to justify keeping prices the same level or higher. Since silicon cost goes down once its been created, that's the only way to increase ASP on silicon -- add more features in the same space.
      Thus we s
    • Nonsense, keep cramming stuff into my phone. I want a tricorder and I want it now. Until then, my Nokia Communicator will have to do.
  • by Spazntwich ( 208070 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:57PM (#15491216)
    So what I'm to gather is that a new technology advances at rates different from ones set forth in arbitrary "laws" relating to different technologies?

    AMAZING
    • In know that this might be considered cheating, but please allow me to actually quote Moore:

      "The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year. Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase."

      Emphasis mine.

      KFG
  • by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:59PM (#15491227)

    Nothing says "megafunction gadget" like a monochrome Palm, a nut, and an old motherboard.

    Is this the next installment in the MacGyver Challenge?

  • by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) * on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:01PM (#15491233) Homepage
    This will be a huge boon for semi-custom embedded apps.

    Many embedded processors have some typical complement of flash memory and SDRAM which is about the same for every app, and which takes up half of more of the CPU's pin count. The chips can't be combined on one die, because the yields and economies of scale would go down, and they're different processes.

    But combine the dies in a small package and you get the best of both world. Less packaging material and lower pin count == lower cost, easier to design in, and more reliable (at some expense in flexibility). It's not a new idea but it's great to see it catching on.
    • Like these?

      http://www.atmel.com/products/AVR/ [atmel.com]

      256-Kbyte self-programming Flash Program Memory, 8-Kbyte SRAM, 4-KByte EEPROM, 16 Channel 10-bit A/D-converter. JTAG interface for on-chip-debug. Up to 16 MIPS throughput at 16 MHz. 1.8 - 5.5 Volt Operation.
      64KB/100-pin version: ATmega640
      128KB/64-pin version: ATmega1281
      128KB/100-pin version: ATmega1280
      256KB/64-pin version: ATmega2561

      64-Kbyte self-programming Flash Program Memory, 4-Kbyte SRAM, 2-KByte EEPROM, 8 Channel 10-bit A/D-converter. JTAG interface for on-
    • by sc0p3 ( 972992 ) <.jaredbroad. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @09:08PM (#15491516) Homepage Journal
      Custom application definately, but the point of the article is that it combines *discrete* components, resistors, capacitors, inductors and other nontransistor widgets that go into circuit design

      CPU, DRAM and Flash are all intensively transistor based devices.

      However custom applications for radio transmitter chips (as in TFA) is a awesome example. Combine all RF circuitry into a single chip will make my job multitudes easier. I designed implants for animal testing and the cap's and resistors were 90% of the implant(for this co. www.telemetryresearch.com)
    • Eh... what??? It's already been done, been available for years. Nearly all the popular PIC microcontrollers and the AVR microcontrollers have Flash, CPU, and static RAM on chip. [atmel.com]

      Granted, those are 8-bit processors with no more than 64k or so of Flash, and no more than a few Kb of SRAM, but they're surprisingly powerful and useful. You can get 'em in clock rates of 50 MHz or more and all kinds of nifty on-chip peripherals are available... my favorites are the on-chip ADC and USB controllers! Plus the whol
    • Everything is started to be integrated. Working for an IC manufacturer, I've seen our progress into integrated subsystems happen with great speed. It's essentially taking individual components and packaging them together in one IC. This works great for the right customer, but makes it hard for the general market sell. That's why you see more of this integration with cell phone manufacturers, since their (HUGE) markets can still drive innovations like this.
      I work in audio, and we've seen the audio system
  • Reliability? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nonother ( 845183 )
    The more functions the more apt it is to crash. For a computer or a PDA to do lots and lots of functions that's great, but if they start putting these into phones or GPS units, or even worse - cars then it's just going to start degrading reliability.
    • Re:Reliability? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cnettel ( 836611 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:09PM (#15491271)
      I would distrust wiring between discrete devices more than integrated functionality. Really, how often have you seen a chip or board malfunction due to not being seated properly, versus actual error in the chip itself?

      Any generalized statements about crashing are just that, gross generalizations. There is no reason to make components interdependent, just because they are integrated. The opposite is true, related components make sense to integrate, but then it's just a matter of what else you might be able to get into that package. It may even have its own connection to the power supply through separate pins, if you're that paranoid.

      • This is true. Integrating discrete components generally greatly improves reliability. Since what was seperate components now is made in one fab at one time and is tested and designed to work in such an integrated fashion -- typically it's FAR more reliable that discretes. In fact, that integrated IC has been through more testing than discretes ever would. It's justifying the cost of the integration that's the biggest issue. Sometimes it's tough to justify putting all those parts in one package without
  • by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:03PM (#15491240) Homepage
    A worthy successor to "IP protocol" or "ATM machine".
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:10PM (#15491273) Homepage Journal
    Wake me when they make a display that doubles as a scanner, and redoubles as a full-spectrum smart antenna. An FPGA CPU that reconfigures per active process. And a fuelcell I can sip with a chaser.
  • Are multifunction gadgets really better? Is the gain in convenience of having many gadgets in one device worth the loss of quality of each of those individual devices comapared to individual items?

    Slashbacking to a thread last week... all I really want is a cell phone that works in weak signal areas. I do not want to take pictures, I do not want to listen to MP3s. I do not want to watch videos.

    I just want the blasted cell phone to work in weak signal areas.

    How can a multifunction device help me? (

    • Are multifunction gadgets really better?

      Yes, the picture quality on that 5" TV is really nice, but I had my heart set on something much smaller.

      KFG
    • And it affects the battery life too. Some people discharge the batteries just using those add-on features. So not only does the added functions have a somewhat lower quality, but also share the power. Unless we can embed all those function and maintain the same (or better) quality - which is not easy - along with same(or less) power consumption, multifunction gadgets aren't going to replace individual devices.
    • I sort of like how my phone has video games and instant messengers. I don't use them often, but maybe twice a month a get really bored and play video games. I have a gameboy too, but it's not very useful because it's bigger than my phone and I never bring it anywhere. As for batteries, my phone holds a charge for around 2 days (if left on all night). That's much longer than I need it to be.
    • all I really want is a cell phone that works in weak signal areas. I do not want to take pictures, I do not want to listen to MP3s. I do not want to watch videos.

      The unspoken assumption here is that there is some sort of mutual exclusion between the two. Do you really think there is a designer somewhere at Nokia or Motorola saying, "Hmm, we could add the 'pick up marginal signals twice as well' module, or we could add a camera. Screw the phone stuff, let's add a camera." Your phone doesn't work well in

    • "Is the gain in convenience of having many gadgets in one device worth the loss of quality of each of those individual devices comapared to individual items?"

      That's like saying car stereo's aren't as good as a home cinema, so are they really worth having at all? I have so many friends who take pictures and share them in a couple of key presses, who wouldn't go out to buy a high quality just-a-camera because for them, it's just a toy, it's fun, not something they feel the need to actively pursue. And likewis
  • Integration stinks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CatWrangler ( 622292 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:25PM (#15491342) Journal
    A good example is the tv sets with dvd and vcr players built in. It's a nice package, but if your dvd busts, you have to give up your tv to get it fixed. Integration is nice, but it comes at a price. I would rather have nodules that are interchangable, flexible than everything in one package. You can have it all, or you can have nothing. Not a good trade-off.
    • "Integration stinks"

      Nah...
      The devices this applies to are of the sort that if something busts, you replace the whole damn thing anyway. Integration on ICs is a whole 'nother can of worms than a TV with a DVD player in. The chips DON'T break. The mechanical connections break (traces, solder joints). Reliability actually can significantly improve....
      Think of it more as the nodules you describe. The audio section craps out -- you replace the audio section chip. The baseband/uController craps out, you rep
  • ...until you have to type on the thing.
  • by smackdotcom ( 136408 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:36PM (#15491391)
    Interesting that this is the sort of thing that Ray Kurzweil predicted [wikipedia.org]. Kurzweil's generalization of Moore's law is the sort of thing that I suspect is largely correct, though how exactly it manifests itself is something that will be interesting to observe. I recommend familiarizing yourself with his thinking if you have any interest in the future of technology and society, and in particular look into buying his latest book [amazon.com]. Disclosure note: I have neither affiliation nor even connection to Kurzweil, I simply find his thinking on the issues of future technology to be both fascinating and compelling.

    We're going to see ever more rapid acceleration of technology at an increasing rate that will one day leave Moore's Law in the dust, and the impact on society promises to be phenomenal. Just the notion of ever-more-sophisticated portable gadgetry is already altering society in very interesting ways (and yes, some of those alterations are annoying or inconvenient--oblivious cell phones users and so forth). But with the way these gadgets are going, we're going to rapidly outstrip the imaginations of Star Trek writers in terms of the capability and utility of such ubiquitous and powerful devices. I look forward to having the electronic equivalent of a Swiss Army knife (and yes, I'm sure there's going to have to be some clever work done on improving the user interface on such units--but there are inventive types out there working on that sort of thing). It all promises to be very interesting.

    • . . .we're going to rapidly outstrip the imaginations of Star Trek writers. . .

      We did that with the LED clock.

      . . .there's going to have to be some clever work done on improving the user interface on such units--but there are inventive types out there working on that sort of thing).

      All they have to do is change the human form factor.

      KFG
  • by bunions ( 970377 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:37PM (#15491396)
    30 comments, all about how this technology is worthless and how what we have right now is just fine.

    I for one would enjoy a fun-size pc, cellphones the size of a hearing aid, a pda wristwatch and tiny headmounted displays I fit in the corner of my glasses. The rest of you can continue to enjoy your breadbox-sized pcs and your feelings of self-righteousness.
    • It's not technology we oppose, just stupid implementations. Slapping my toothbrush and my PDA into one package is "cool" but I don't want stank mouth if my OS crashes. That is not being a luddite, it's being reasonable. I am thinking more along the lines of a shrunk down tower, components that can be swapped out. It can be small. I just don't want to lose 15 functions, when 1 function is lost.
    • I don't think that what we all meant is that technology is worthless. Integration is a space and money saver. We all appreciate SoPs and SoCs, but the point is not to embed anything in any package just because we can. Because you can end up with a gadget which does not fulfill any of its functions appropriately. "My cell is phone isn't that powerful, but that's OK because it is also an MP3 Player. My MP3 Player isn't that powerful, but that's OK because it is also a cell phone."
      • Why do you make that assumption? My phone is a great phone. I've never seen a phone that I like better as a phone. It also happens to be a computer, a camera, an MP3 player, and a game player. Is it great at all those things? No, but that's OK because it's primarily a phone. It does that very very well, and it does all those other things well enough and for not much money. What's the problem? Now you may not want it and that's fine, but don't assume that just because it does more than one thing mean
        • The problem is when you use the MP3 Player or play your games on it, it shortens the battery life, and makes the phone less mobile because you will have to recharge it more often. But as I mention in my other posts, if it goes with the same or less power consumption then it's great. I am not against anything in technology advance, not against the high level of integration achieved today (that would be stupid). I'm jut mentioning that power consumption is not a trivial trade-off, it's like having MANY gadge
          • It's clear, but I've never really found that argument convincing. How hard is it to plug in a phone anyway? I take my phone off when I go to bed anyway, I can just plug it in at the same time. I have a USB cable sitting here on my PC at work and I can just plug my phone into that while I'm sitting at my desk and charge it that way (I just did today). Car chargers are common, my wife charges her phone while she drives. Is it really such a trial to plug in your phone for an hour a couple of times a week?
      • Because you can end up with a gadget which does not fulfill any of its functions appropriately.

        Why yes, you can end up with bad products sometimes. In fact, you can do so even with old technology. The fact that you felt compelled to post this stupendously obvious fact a thread about exciting new technology is kind of why I called everyone luddites.

    • "I for one would enjoy a fun-size pc, cellphones the size of a hearing aid, a pda wristwatch and tiny headmounted displays I fit in the corner of my glasses."

      And I, for one, welcome our fun-size pc, tiny hearing aid, pda wristwatch and tiny headmounted display-enjoying overlords. :^)

      But notice that you broke them up. I would like a fun-size PC. I would like a cellphone the size of a hearing aid. I would like a PDA wristwatch. And I would like a tint headmounted display I fit in the corner of my glasses.
    • by OnanTheBarbarian ( 245959 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @03:49AM (#15492963)
      You are correct. I am perenially amazed by the sheer lack of informed responses when there is a marginally technical, serious article on here.

      We got:

      1. "stuff is too complex already, what we need is better UI design". This is a non sequiteur - better UI design and clarity of function is an orthogonal issue to what this article talks about. It's as if the technology was going to be used to do nothing but assemble every last portable gadget into one poorly-designed mega-unit.

      2. "this is all about integrating such and so a microcontroller, SOC and flash memory": it's too hard to read the article and realize that we're talking about something a little more general, so let's just drop a couple vaguely-informed sounding buzzwords in there to sound superior. Read the damn articles, guys: Capacitors. Waveguides. Antennas. Crystals. Not just some gates.

      3. Some home-spun wisdom about how putting more functions in things makes them more unreliable. Yes, that's right, even since the 4004 computer chips have just been crashing more and more often. That's because there's no such discipline as computer engineering or electrical engineering. No-one has ever thought about these issues before today, on Slashdot. Perhaps one day a discipline might spring up around how to assemble digital and analog logic in a way that somehow encapsulates the properties of individual components.

      4. A couple random breathless quotes about Vinge and Kurzweill; with the usual level of irrelevance. Hey, at least these guys aren't sneering.

      I was faintly hoping for someone who knows more about this sort of stuff to analyze the very PR-ish seeming nature of the article - what's hype, what's reality. Instead, it's the usual undergraduate-level bluffing and gibberish.

    • The rest of you can continue to enjoy your breadbox-sized pcs and your feelings of self-righteousness.

      The input/output of high-tech gadgets is, by far, the limiting factor with current technology.

      Shrink a PC/PDA all you want, but I still need to carry around a 5"x3" keyboard and perhaps an 8" screen ( AT MINIMUM ) to be able to DO ANYTHING useful with it. Hence the short-lived hype of PDAs.

      A "glasses" display will only make you sick, possibly giving you eyesight problems, serious headaches, etc. And since

      • Shrink a PC/PDA all you want, but I still need to carry around a 5"x3" keyboard and perhaps an 8" screen ( AT MINIMUM ) to be able to DO ANYTHING useful with it.

        Ever here of a Blackberry? The dimension of the entire device is about 4"x3" and yet somehow people manage to get a lot done with them. And my vx9800 phone seems to be extremely useful with a full qwerty keyboard under 4" x 1.5" and a 2" x 1.5" screen, it's mostly limited currently by a lack of open applications and good mobile websites. I can onl

        • A gadget is only as worthless as the person who doesn't know how to properly apply it.
          Well said!
        • The dimension of the entire device is about 4"x3" and yet somehow people manage to get a lot done with them.

          No, people certainly don't do "a lot" with blackberries. Sending a few e-mails around is fine, but hardly doing a lot. You really need a much larger keyboard to do things with reasonable speed.

          And my vx9800 phone seems to be extremely useful with a full qwerty keyboard under 4" x 1.5" and a 2" x 1.5" screen

          Typing with two fingers won't get you very far, and having to squint to try and read the scree

          • No, people certainly don't do "a lot" with blackberries.

            Let's see, browse the web, take photos and 20fps videos, email, write documents, play games, calculator, code write code on it if there were an IDE app for it (migh tbe? not sure). Sounds like pretty much what everyone uses a desktop PC for already as far as basic tasks go. You want more powerful apps look at the OQO [oqo.com] and whta it has to offer, AFAIK, that would be everything a PC offers.

            Typing with two fingers won't get you very far, and having to squ

          • Not true. It's all about depth of focus. Your eyes have no problem focusing on a screen 2 feet in front of you. Trying to focus on a screen less than an inch in-front of you eyes to read it, however, is impossible for your eyes. Never-the-less, they will try, and after long-term use, you'll see serious problems.

            You clearly don't have any experience with HMDs. All of the decent ones have optics that present an image to your eyes that appears to be at least several feet away. I have personally used a tin

      • I guess I'm enough of an optimist to think that the keyboard/mouse combo isn't the zenith of input devices.

        Do I have an alternative? No, but then I didn't have an alternative to cumbersome wired telephones or BBSes or carburetors either, and somehow someone managed to come up with a few.
        • I guess I'm enough of an optimist to think that the keyboard/mouse combo isn't the zenith of input devices.

          I don't entirely disagree with you. However, since I can type fairly accurately at well over 100 WPM (Dvorak layout on a TypeMatrix keyboard BTW), it would take a hell of an input device to surpass the standard old keyboard.

          and somehow someone managed to come up with a few.

          Well, that is an entirely different thing. That's the progress of a new field of technology, as opposed to fundamentially differe

    • tiny headmounted displays I fit in the corner of my glasses
      Just wait till you get the tiny headmounted video camera in the corner of your glasses. That's when the MPAA comes in and stifles the technology, as per their track record of late.

      Luddites, indeed.
  • It looks like the other 90% of devices have been largely neglectic up till now. The fact that the size of devices will shrink at a rate faster than Moore's Law might suggest that the rest of a device is just catching up with ICs after a late start.
  • This is new? (Score:2, Informative)

    by mikalveli ( 978602 )
    Hustler has been talking about MegaFunction gadgets for years.
  • by suitepotato ( 863945 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:53PM (#15491464)
    Sometime in 2013...

    "Hon? Yeah, me here. Hospital waiting room actually. I think I really screwed up the instructions with that new cell phone. Well, Janie tried to call her friend Jennifer, and the toaster exploded in Sean's face. I tried to call 911 and had to sit through Eyes Wide Shut 2, then listen to Basil Poledouris ring tones for ten minutes and answer three web surveys. The doctors think they can reattach most of Sean's scalp and one of his eyes. Janie is fine though. She grabbed the phone, screamed 'nervouse breakdown voice command' into it and it tranquilized her. Do you know if it can make Shirley Temples? Hello? Oh, I'm sorry... I thought you were my husband... International Space Station you say? Could you connect me with 555-"
  • 'til my cell phone is a toaster too.
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @09:16PM (#15491557)
    for Vernor Vinge's Singularity.
  • ... as much as "Can I hack it or not?".
  • All this talk about multi-function is great, but battery lilfe will continue to be the limiting factor. I hate the fact that my iPod dies after 10 hrs and my cell phone after 2 days -even without using airtime. I just want a cell phone with a 7 day talk time, a one month standby time and how about working on making them *waterproof*? You can keep your cell phones with games, movies and 'itunes' (like 100MB is giong to do me any good?)
  • Powerful (Score:3, Funny)

    by QuickFox ( 311231 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @10:38PM (#15491940)
    TFA describes a device the size of a credit card:
    It could include a home computer, a cellphone, environmental and other sensors, a health monitoring device, and a satellite TV receiver, to name just some possibilities.
    They forgot to mention that it also doubles as a soldering iron.

    -- --
      Terrorists can destroy our trains and buildings, but they can't destroy our rights and our freedom. Only we and our lawmakers can destroy that.

  • the 'ultimate' SOP could be the equivalent of a complete PC. This single "package" could be processor, video, ram, drive, bios, firmware etc. It would have enough pins for communicating with i/o devices (a screen or output of some kind, a keyboard or some buttons).

    So, I could buy one of these SOP generic PC's, run the latest Linux kernel, and make it do just about anything a current technology PC could do. And, if I read correctly, this SOP would be maybe 4 square inches. It begs the questions of pow
  • I'd love to have all expansion card be the size of an SD card
    (you know, those little square ones). Your PC would have slots
    and you'd just push the card in, et voila, sound, graphics,
    whatever else. The PC could be the size of a laptop with all
    the expandability.
  • How I see it is that Software Defined Radio and DSP chips will help speed along "convergence". Think of it as "plug and play" (self-negotiating radio interfaces) and Web 2.0 (XML common format metadata exchange/messaging) for physically independent devices.
  • Can you imagine the impact this will have on virtual reality? What about robotics? I've read enough science fiction to know shit's about to get real crazy.
  • While I'd agree that systems in certain markets are integrating VERY fast (cell phones, PDAs), that's certainly not true everywhere -- and I can't see system integration keeping up it's breakneck pace -- particulary moore's law. The reason being: there are only so many applications for semi-custom integrated solutions. The cell phone industry really drives some of this, because of its rediculously huge market, but everyone want to be different. It's tough selling an integrated package when someone just

Dynamically binding, you realize the magic. Statically binding, you see only the hierarchy.

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