2 years ago 💘 for day 27, 2019 with 318 words.

How many computers are in your phone?

This question I asked myself a few days ago and also made a poll on twitter

without further research this are the computers I do count:

  1. the main computer: SoC ( System on a Chip), this is what the ads refer to when they say snapdragon 855, or A12 bionic or mediatek mt6750. It contains the

  2. SIM Card yes the sim card is also a computer. It got its own memory and can run a subset of Java for apps. More on that here

  3. Base Band While the SIM Card is a Subscriber identity module it acts only as the key to the network. The BaseBand handles converting the radio waves into data, negotiating network protocols, letting the Cell know you are still there, letting the main operating system know you are getting a call.

  4. Image processing Image processing got so complex it was moved to its own system. Many modern phones actually record video and then pick the best pixels into an image.

  5. Storage Controller Flash memory, the type that is in every phone now, is incredibly fast but has a limited lifespan and need intense management to keep track how and where data is written and balance the wear and tear

  6. Secure Enclave if your phone has a fingerprint sensor is also has a secure enclave. This is a secure chip that is used to store your fingerprint and potentially other data securely. The main system talks to it in order to confirm your identity.

  7. Charging Controller In the past, you heard advice to use your device until the battery runs out, then let it charge for 12 hours in order to maximise the potential use. This has evolved since then and a normal "the phone sleeps when I sleep" works well enough.

Did I miss anything other important computer in your phone?


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By Jakob 💘

Web developer by trade, bearded and inquisitive by nature - starting to write my musings (ideas, sometimes fiction)

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