Time to Boot

Last weekend, my friend Andrés Monroy-Hernández pointed out something that I’ve been noticing as well. Although the last decade has seen a huge decrease in the time my laptop takes to boot, the same can not be said for the increasing powerful computer in my pocket that is my phone.

Graph showing increasing boot-times for phones and decreasing boot-times for laptops.

As the graph indicates, I think my cross-over was around 2010 when I acquired an SSD for my laptop.

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Benjamin Mako Hill

Rebel with rather too many causes. And your host!

5 thoughts on “Time to Boot”

  1. If the phone has a great deal longer uptime than your laptop, I don’t see this in and of itself as a serious problem. It’ll get very interesting in the near future with Haswell spanning both markets, Ubuntu going mobile, Android going desktop, and laptops catching up with the ultra-high screen resolutions pioneered by tablets.

  2. If you would go back in time, you would see that for a long time the boot time of desktop systems increased too (e.g. MS-DOS → MS Windows XP), but in recent times (during the last 10 years?) there hasn’t been a lot of change in what a desktops needs to start up to get to a usable system, and that stability in features has been used to optimize the boot process (remove/delay unimportant stuff), in addition to the increased performance of CPU & storage.

    Similarly, phones in the past (but as recent as the years 2000s) often ran/run just one program, then they had a small number of programs running (e.g. one “active” user process + a couple of necessary background services), and now mobile phones are getting close to or equal desktop systems when it comes to features & complexity in a rapid pace—except your phone has a slower CPU and slower storage.

    So, expect your phone to boot faster again once the feature set of phones stabilizes somewhat, combined with increased performance of the hardware…

  3. Ari: No. That’s why there is no labels on the axes. It is true that my phone used to boot instantaneously and it now takes a long time. My computer boot time has gotten much faster over the last decade.

    Maybe if I had an iPhone I would feel differently.

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