by Mike Masnick

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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    wireless pragmatist, 5 Jan 2006 @ 6:38pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brian Clarke, 5 Jan 2006 @ 7:42pm


    I agree 100%. The mainstream media overhypes most things, especially technology. I wouldn't expect that from a trade mag, though. Thats just preposterous!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Nex, 7 Jan 2006 @ 2:13pm

      Re: Agreed

      That's one reason the Ipod caught on so well: undeserved hype from the ignorant media. Even when the Ipod was behind its competitors in terms of flexibility and quality, it was already the only player most folks had heard about.. Nex

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew Strasser, 5 Jan 2006 @ 10:31pm

    Advertising does cost dollars usually...

    Well you can immediatly see that if they have to pay their advertisers to lie for them. They're not the best thing on the market. It may find it's niche though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tashi, 6 Jan 2006 @ 1:09am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.