ned Productions Consulting

Technology musings by Niall Douglas
ned Productions Consulting
(an expert advice and services company based in Ireland)

Saturday 17th February 2018 2.39am

My Nexus 6P decided today when I was just leaving Maynooth to not connect to the internet despite multiple reboots! I was getting really annoyed, because usually traffic is awful out of Dublin on Friday evenings, and Google needs to direct me down the fastest route. Anyway I finally got a route out of it, but that phone is really sliding down the hill fast now … the cellular chip appears to be shafted (another common problem with 6P, it has a lot a manufacturing defects as we now know, just a matter of when not if, and I've actually been lucky to reach two years - though, under EU law, if it fails within two years I get a new one! So maybe not so lucky …)

My 128Gb sdcard has arrived, so I can finally start moving over to the new phone. It's a 2017 Samsung EVO Plus U3 model, it was not expensive, and yet it'll do 80-85Mb/sec sustained i/o both read and write which is pretty good. Random 4Kb i/o is terrible, just 2Mb/sec read and write. But consider, if you will, the last sdcard I bought which would have been for my last pre-Nexus phone which was the HTC Dream (the first Android phone ever, in fact), perhaps around 2010. I still have it, it's a 8Gb Sandisk Mobile Ultra and I'm still using it as an emergency boot flash disk. It was, at the time, once of the fastest cards you could buy. It could hit 20Mb/sec sequential read/write which was phenomenal for its day, and about 40Kb/sec for random i/o (yes Kb, not Mb).

That Sandisk was very much a premium card in its day. I remember it was very expensive. The Samsung is pretty much bog standard today, cheaper than the Sandisk back then. I guess that shows just how far NAND flash has come in the past eight years, but then I suppose we all take SSDs for granted in our PCs and laptops now as well.

I feel bad about losing the 6P, oddly enough. It's the first phone that has ever begun to die on me, all the others I stopped using because newer phones were a lot better, and the HTC 10 is not a lot better, in fact, none of the phones since 2015 are much better. The 6P was the point at which smartphones plateaued, since then improvement is now incremental, not exponential. And the 6P was definitely one of the better phones I've ever owned, plus it had quirks and character. Unlike most of the phones I've owned, in fact, so I think I'm actually going to miss it. Yet I never missed the Nexus 5, it never caused me any problems, indeed it's still working perfectly today. I was glad to be rid of the Galaxy Nexus, it was very slow despite being hideously expensive. And before that was the HTC Dream, which was acceptable if I'm being kind.

Phones are on their way to becoming a commodity item like televisions. That'll mean the end of Apple's run of fortune, no doubt, why upgrade when the five generation old item is nearly as good? I wonder what new tech titan is going to take the dominant position next? I'm pretty sure it'll be a company we've not heard of yet, the current ones are rather scared and exhausted and no longer capable of innovating much.