Wonder Why The Wireless Industry Fails To Live Up To Expectations?

from the trade-press? dept

We’ve already talked about problems with reporters completely buying into misleading statements from companies in the wireless industry — from those who claim that WiMax exists and is deployed (when it doesn’t, and it isn’t) to those who report the “up to” speeds as if they’re the average speeds. In many cases, it happens because reporters simply take a press release, re-arrange the words a bit and suddenly have an article. We understand that reporters can get lazy, and that some can make mistakes (hey, we do it too), but sometimes you have to wonder if reporters (or their editors) even bother to read what they write at all. We already know that fact checkers are a thing of the past, but you’d still expect reporters to at least try to get the story straight — especially in specialist trade publications where people are looking on them to be experts.

That’s why it’s disappointing to read an article in “Wi-FiPlanet” about Lenovo’s new deal to put HSDPA in its laptops — where the story gets so many things wrong. It starts right at the top with the title: “New ThinkPads Extend Wi-Fi.” The HSDPA network has nothing to do with Wi-Fi. It’s a totally separate network. Next, the article claims that Cingular’s HSDPA “BroadBandConnect represents a huge increase over Wi-Fi connection speeds.” It certainly represents a huge increase over Cingular’s GPRS and EDGE speeds, but not Wi-Fi speeds. Then comes the spin from Lenovo: “We’ll be the only ones out there with integrated wireless WAN.” It’s an interesting quote, but it’s mostly wrong — and a reporter for a wireless trade publication should recognize that. Over the past half a year, we’ve had stories about Dell, HP and Sony all planning similar laptops with embedded 3G wireless — meaning that it’s not a differentiator for Lenovo at all. It would seem like this is the type of thing that a reporter should at least ask about, rather than simply printing it as fact. Lenovo could respond that they got their laptops out first (by a small margin), but that’s not what the story implies. All in all, this is quite disappointing — because one of the biggest problems facing the wireless industry today is all of the overhype that comes with each story — and much of that comes from reporters who simply parrot the misleading statements from companies. If we actually had reporters who looked critically at what was being fed to them, maybe everyone’s expectations wouldn’t keep getting set at impossible levels.

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Comments on “Wonder Why The Wireless Industry Fails To Live Up To Expectations?”

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wireless pragmatist says:

wireless expectations

Having worked in a major wireless carrier for many years with my focus being wireless data in the enterprise, I can say that the hype starts at the carrier and is perpetuated by the industry media. Unfortunately the users expectations become so high as a result that when a new technology is handed to them they fail to be impressed with what it DOES deliver and instead focus on how it didn’t meet the expectation. In the end the industry at large is hurt not by failing to provide real value, but by failing to meet the unrealistic expectations touted through the media that is all too reliant upon the advertising bucks of those they review.

Tashi says:

No Subject Given

I’ve been in journalism 16 years and I switched to the tech side a few years ago, because journalistic integrity has gone completely down the drain and investigative journalism is all but dead. It’s an industry driven by greedy shareholders, advertising, sensationalism and profits. Even if a paper is extremely profitable (like Knight Ridder, probably the only newspaper chain in America that’s still half-assed honest) shareholders complain that it’s not proftiable enough. Ethics and integrity are a far behind second thought.

What concerns me more about wireless isn’t hype. It’s how its popularity outpaces its security concerns. TKIP has been standardized for over a year and a half and even the most experienced IT personnel I come across haven’t heard of it.

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