Random Access Memory (RAM) is used to hold the data on a phone, or any computer system is currently using. That way the speed of the storage doesn’t become a bottleneck that slows the whole system down.
Every year, smartphone manufacturers think it’s necessary to include more RAM in their flagships. Some of the manufacturers think “bigger is better”.
Talking about the recent trends, most of the smartphones have 4GB of RAM max, and some others are coming with 6 or even 8GB. The OnePlus 3T and Honor V9 sports 6GB, and upcoming ASUS ZenFone AR packs massive 8GB.
Once Bill Gates said, “No one will ever need more than 640KB of RAM ”.
Whether or not he actually said that is good for debate, but that quote raises one question: how much RAM do we need? Alas, the answer is becoming more complicated.
If we compare the Android devices and IOS devices, we can see the Apple is using less RAM. They have optimized their OS so that the minimum usage of RAM gives better performance. Actually, having larger RAM doesn’t necessarily means better performance.
For support, Huawei also thinks the same. In a recent Weibo post, Huawei executive Lao Shi says that 4GB of RAM is more than enough for a phone to run smoothly. The need for RAM also depends upon other different factors, like CPU, GPU, etc. If all the hardware are optimized with its OS, the need of RAM could be minimized.
RAM also is very useful in multitasking. Though, Android and IOS do not run like Windows. With windows, you can run multiple application at once, to the point that the computer collapses into a juddering heap. But, you can’t do the same in the smartphones. Because the RAM management happens automatically and is more aggressive. Where with Windows you’d have to start closing apps when you stretch your RAM, iOS and Android simply offload app data from system RAM. But, now we can open a couple of application on the same screen in smartphones, which requires little bit more RAM. Still, smartphones do not require much RAM.
Though, the cycle of the need for RAM continues. Back in 2012, 2GB RAM was considered huge in mobile devices, but now we are talking about 4GB and later on, we will see 8 – 10 GB. As the operating systems of the smartphone are becoming more complicated, the need for RAM might increase.