In 1965, Gordon Moore, cofounder of Intel, famously stated that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles in about two years. That is to say, computing power doubles every two years. While this a very exciting achievement for engineers and computer scientists alike, it has produced nothing but idiocy on the part of developers and device manufacturers.
Today, an average smartphone has at least 1300 times more processing power than the computer that sent rocket to the moon (reference). And what are people doing with all this extra boost? They are playing candy crush! Device manufacturers have taken higher processing power for granted while app developers have leveraged it to their needs. Today, an average game weighs more than 100Mb whereas in 2000’s a 3.5″ floppy drive had only 1.44Mb of space. And nothing broke during those days.
Device manufacturers have created another kind of mass misconception (which may be deliberate). Average Joe has a concept that more RAM means better processing speed, thanks to mass media promotion by OEMs. The only exception here is Apple who do not promote RAM as a measurement of better processing speed. Due to this, I always have a hard time explaining my iPhone’s RAM does not count.
What is more ironic is that Android runs on Linux, an operating system which aims at running in under-powered hardwares. And Linux systems can be tuned very easily. At home, I run a Raspberry Pi as (a) dev server, (b) a torrent box, (c) a media server, (d) a NAS. And all of them running smoothly in 1 gig of RAM!
By no means I imply that it is necessary for average people need to understand what runs under the hood. But this kind of thoughtless “optimization” does no good.