Intel has been seriously overhyping WiMax for a couple of years now. While some have recently recognized that all this hype (for what should be a promising technology in certain areas) is likely to be damaging to the growth of the technology, Intel just can't stop its hype machine. What's scary, though, is how easily reporters are taking the word of Intel as if it were the gospel. This was seen on Friday when Reuters printed what appeared to be an Intel press release on WiMax (bylined by some Reuters reporter) without bothering to do any research about the technology, look for opposing viewpoints or (heaven forbid!) actually question Intel about some of their broad (and highly questionable) claims. Today it gets even worse. While there's plenty of coverage about Intel finally releasing their WiMax chip (a bit late, and there's still no certification process for WiMax equipment), the Reuters article on the matter concludes with a piece of pure fiction concerning Intel's role in developing WiFi: "Intel's support for Wi-Fi in its Centrino brand of notebook computer chips made the short-range wireless technology into a global standard popular in cafes, homes, offices and other public spaces." Um... but, no. That's not what happened. Intel supported a competing standard, called HomeRF -- and despite plenty of Intel hype, everyone went with WiFi instead. Intel only jumped on board after it was abundantly clear that WiFi was a huge success and Intel had backed the wrong horse. Of course, they followed that up by trying to co-opt the buzz around WiFi by suggesting that their "Centrino" chip was the be-all, end-all of WiFi, and now they're trying to bury past overhype by doubling down on WiMax hype. It's really disappointing. WiMax should be a decent technology, but Intel's clear overselling of its capabilities (and time-frames) is only going to damage the technology. If you just read the hype, you're going to think that WiMax delivers a hell of a lot more than it actually does -- and that's just going to lead to a lot of unmet promises and backlash towards the technology. You'd think that a company like Intel would have noticed the same hype to backlash cycle that seems to happen with every wireless technology from 3G to Bluetooth to WAP.
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