Does Size Matter?

Apparently, high end smartphones now meet the recommended minimum system requirements for Windows Server 2003 (when it was launched back in 2003).

I’m no techie, but I suspect that it’s probably not advisable (or even possible) to actually run Server 2003 on a smartphone.

Especially not considering that it comes to End of Support on July 14th, and we’re advising everyone who’s still reliant on it to move to a modern platform with some haste.

Still, it’s remarkable that a technology which is now more than 12 years old is still in widespread use across the world.

In fact, it’s difficult to think of anything else that this applies to, especially when technology has moved on so far. Let’s face it, the iPad didn’t even exist until 2010 (this week was its 5th birthday).

Even something as simple as storage continues to evolve at an astonishing pace.

Back in 2003, PCs were still being shipped with floppy disk drives as standard! OK, we’d moved on to the 3.5 inch variety, but the capacity at the time was a measly 1.44MB.

With the advent of the USB stick – if you could afford one – you could store a staggering 256MB.

To put that into context, that’s around 250 2 megapixel photographs. Although at the time you’d be lucky to find a digital camera with a resolution of more than 1 or 2 megapixels.

And now? For around £65 it’s possible to pick up a 128GB Micro SD card. That’s the equivalent in terms of storage capacity to a staggering 93,312 floppy discs. And it’ll store around 11,000 images taken on the highest setting with the 20 mega pixel camera on your new Lumia 930.

But it’s not just storage that’s moved on.

Think back to the early days of connectivity and the dreaded modem. Dial-up connection offered a maximum theoretical transfer speed of 56 kilobytes per second.

I’m sure we can all remember sitting patiently – or maybe occasionally feeling more than a little frustrated – waiting for web pages to load, and it’s amazing to think that there were online games, and even the PlayStation 2, that supported dial-up.

In these days of streamed content, expectation is such that we routinely talk in terms of 20, 40 or even 80 mega bytes per second for download speeds – although whether your home connection ever actually gets close to that is probably debatable.

Leased lines now run up to 1 gigabyte per second.

And what do many of us now have connected? You guessed it – it’s our flatscreen TV. Not the bulky box that used to sit in the corner of the room and needed an army of strongmen to lift it.

I’m certainly no videogame player (as the colleague who beat me 8 – 0 in just four high octane minutes of FIFA 2015 during an office charity fundraising tournament will testify) but I can’t imagine many will hark back to the days when a combination of pixilation and resolution made it a challenge to distinguish between friend and foe!

The promise of truly immersive experiences with virtual reality headsets (see Microsoft’s HoloLens) is a clear demonstration of how far things have moved since the days of space invaders.

So it seems that very little, if anything, in the world of technology is worthy of the phrase ‘back in the good old days when….’

‘Retro’ or ‘classic’ may be cool in certain circumstances – if you’re looking for a new pair of trainers then it’s difficult to ignore the timeless quality of the Adidas Samba, first produced in the 1950s.

But let’s face it, how many of us are likely to rush out to buy an original Motorola 8900X-2 rather than an iPhone 6 / Samsung Galaxy / Lumia 930* (*delete as appropriate)

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about that.

Also, how many of you are hanging onto technology more than five years old, and are prepared to fight to maintain its significance?

In the meantime, check out our latest infographic which illuminates some of my earlier points.

Moral of the story? Retro is awesome. For everything else, there’s a technological innovation.