Hardware Matters First

A Slashdot article gives a summary of a piece declaring software as having primacy over hardware. This is very, very wrong.

All it takes is the right set of circuits in a computer, mobile device, or data communication system to fail to bring an immediate end to software. Your operating system, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android cannot protect you from bad hardware. Hardware rules software.

When things go well (or just OK), it seems just the opposite. It may appear software is guiding the functions of a machine, but the control is an illusion. It works so far as the machine allows or is able. If the radios in a smartphone break, no more Bluetooth, WiFi, or home automation control. No more smart App.

Apple is setting the trend in hardware. Even the rumors of new Apple hardware triggers a response by others. Innovation begins with better hardware.

Silicon Valley, IT, and the App/web building communities have not yet reached a point of taking hardware for granted. A notable exception being the likes of Google, Amazon, and Microsoft running banks of servers. Outside of that is everyone else contending with recommended system requirements versus lowest common denominator operating environments for consumer apps and enterprise platforms alike.

Smartphones are still capable of exploding in 2016. Batteries discharge so quickly when radios are engaged. Desktop and mobile apps don’t run fast enough or hold their own when memory gets tight. Top name apps crash on Android or have too few features on iOS. Windows apps can’t escape security issues. Linux apps can’t get adequate driver support for all devices. The root of many of these issues and more is a lack of released hardware innovation. I say released because the innovation exists, but at a much greater premium.

The article is incorrect. Hardware matters first. Get it right, make it more accessible, efficient, and more reliable and you’d be surprised at the results in software that could be delivered. As an example, the durable nature of the MacOs environment fueling the creation of iOS apps. The hardware platform sets the foundation and potential for the proliferation of apps.



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