Richard Bucker

Moore's Law and the Chromebook

Posted at — Jul 23, 2015

Moore’s Law as summarized:“Moore’s law” is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years.  … and projected this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade. (wikipedia)I find it hard to believe that Moore’s Law was more of a project or marketing plan than engineering prediction. Not that doubling transistor count is an easy feat but it’s more Economics. For all we know Intel might have had the capability to quadruple transistor density, however, the cost would have kept the chips too high effecting the economics. I recall using the Dec Alpha in the same form factor as the PC. They were screamers. I presume it was part manufacturing, part density, and mostly it’s mainframe/mini heritage. Sadly, the Alpha was acquired and then discarded.In the meantime we continue to see a number of chip vendors that are working on chips that are “good enough”. ARM and Rock. We also see a number of vendors, possibly taking lessons from one laptop per child and manufacturing Chromebook, Chromebox, Chromebase and Chromebit. For all but the most premium devices all of these machines are relegated to using older or commodity chips, memory and SSD.While the PC and MAC markets are running wild on the tip of the price spear with the latest chips the ChromeOS hardware market is simply consuming the cast offs. Eventually the ChromeOS market is going to fracture under the stress. PC and MAC manufacturers want to preserve their margins. ChromeOS manufacturers are going to see premium brands enter the market with a need to better margins and then soon enough the pirates are going to enter and try to capture the bottom of the market. (we already see Intel/Microsoft entering into the stick computer and now Microsoft is working on the CloudComputer)And the exceptions or indicators:HP Stream (appears to be positioned as an RDP console)EeBook (FAIL)in general netbooks (FAIL)RockChip (link) described as SoC based on the ARM processorApple buys chip manufacturer (link)look at the number school systems that are purchasing ChromeOS based devicesBTW: I’m not touching the OS war here although I have a very strong opinion.