We tech nerds are inundated with information about the latest devices. Camera quality, battery life, processor speed, pixel density, and so on.

It’s time to zoom out.

In State of Hardware, we will look at the big picture and evaluate hardware’s impact on our society. We will primarily examine today’s hardware through the lenses of privacy, sovereignty, and freedom.

We yearn for a society where people own their own data, control their own money, and are free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. Hardware should be our greatest enabler, augmenting our human potential. It is a foundational element of technology; all software must run on hardware.

Hardware today feels more like a straightjacket. The 2020’s are at the precipice of becoming a nightmarish combination of 1984 and Black Mirror. We hope State of Hardware – and our work at Foundation Devices – will lead society on a better path.

Below are some examples of topics we will cover:

  • Apple is attempting to own “privacy” as a value proposition. But do Apple devices really give users privacy? What are the ramifications of Apple Pay, Apple Card, Sign in with Apple, iMessages, and other privacy-oriented offerings?

  • Apple and Google have a duopoly on mobile operating systems and app stores. How does this affect other entrepreneurs and startups? How is innovation being stifled in today’s paradigm, and what kind of apps and products would emerge in a truly open mobile ecosystem?

  • All phone makers and carriers are heavily marketing 5G technology. How will 5G affect the concentration of power within the wireless industry? Will 5G lead to further Internet centralization, and how will VCs and entrepreneurs respond with decentralized offerings?

  • What are the privacy implications of new hardware like Ring Drones, Amazon palm scanners, and always-on life cameras (i.e. Humane)? How can we build hardware that both preserves privacy and empowers users?

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– Zach and the Foundation Devices team