In the past, you could tell what a computer was doing (to some extent) just by listening to it.
- Disk access would be accompanied by a classic floppy disk sound (or the “click” of a hard drive)
- The fan would spin up if the CPU was under high load.
- You could actually listen to network traffic on a modem (or watch the network traffic light blink).
- Sometimes, different operations would cause a high-pitched noise to emit from some mysterious component of the computer.
However, with solid-state drives and many entirely fanless computational devices (e.g. phones, most tablets), it is no longer possible to have an intuitive sense of what your computing device is up to.
The solution is obvious: the phone must generate artificial sounds so the user can figure out what’s going on.
- Heavy CPU use could result in the classic beeps of the “Star Trek computer sound“. Or for a subtler approach, a fan-spinning noise could be generated.
- Disk access could always be accompanied by the audio of a floppy disk reading / writing / seeking to a new location.
- The screen could cause a buzzing sound to be emitted when it was first turned on, and optionally at any time it was displaying a non-blank screen.
- Network access could generate a modem noise.
With this simple change, people will become aware of what their computer is doing.
In particular, they will now easily realize if their computer is using a ton of Internet traffic or is infected with CPU-intensive malware.
Demand this feature in your next phone! Or write and maintain a custom ROM for your phone. Easy!
PROS: Warns people about phone spyware/malware. Makes a phone harder to lose, since it will be constantly emitting annoying sounds!
CONS: None! It’s the perfect idea with no downsides.