The "overhyped media" factor

An interesting article came to my attention today. It is what I believe to be the core problem of both print and web media outlets today - spreading hype. This is a word that will have its center point in this post, or I better call it a rant.

The example article

Let me just write about this article first and then I'll continue my thoughts on the general subject.

In the above mentioned article the author states: "...the advancement in technologies will ensure that soon camera phones would reach the quality of most prosumer cameras, which would be the beginning of end of all but professional digital cameras."

This is not going to happen. Period. Here's two reasons:
  1. Why would Sony make a camera phone that has the same features as a standalone camera but 1/2 or 1/3 of the price? The companies are not here to increase our budget but theirs. If anyone wanted to pull off such a move and make the company lose a shitload of cash I doubt they would be working for Sony for long.
  2. Why sell one product that can satisfy all your needs when they can sell you 2 or more. The "integrated" approach is not giving results. I know it's weird but people actually prefer to listen to their music on an iPod and not on a PDA, and they do carry around both.
I also need to comment on the following: "Samsung already retails a 7-megapixel camera in Korea with an option of attaching a telephoto lens just so you can shoot "professional" photographs, so the possibilities of higher megapixeled cameras availing in retail market soon doesn'’t appear to be farfetched." Then a bit later he writes: "...a lot needs to change before camera phones can come anywhere near independent digital cameras." I think the author doesn't know what to write yet he doesn't have a problem with giving the article a pompous title like: "Camera Phones: Death to Digital Cameras?"

The author emphasizes these won't be really professional photographs but why is he even using this word? The quality of these photos, combined with the lack of many of the features that cheap cameras in the $500 range cannot produce photographs close to professional quality. This is a good example of producing hype by writing about something a wide audience is going to read and then interpret in their own way. Let's face it, the majority doesn't know anything about professional photography. Furthermore, Samsung noted that this camera is not going to be available outside of Korea.

The entire picture

The problem is definitely not just with this article or its particular topic, it's just an example. With the dramatic increase of thousands of people starting blogs every day and the fact that anyone can make and market a website, it's getting difficult to attract visitors and so hyped stories are born. It feels like every few articles I read there's one with so much crappy predictions inside, especially in the wake and after Apple announces something new.

During the past 2 years everyone was predicting the death of the PDA with Smartphones being "THE thing" while this year we have a plethora of PDA releases and PDA phones while the big predictions about PDA's death proved to be just plain hype. The same thing happened when PDAs came into the picture and everyone said the notebooks are dead. Funny how journalists and analysts just don't learn from their own mistakes.

I was at a conference this week and I saw a bunch of people carrying around laptops, PDAs and cameras - all of them together. I didn't see one single journalist in the press room writing his articles on a PDA despite all those handy portable keyboards - a notebook is still the weapon of choice despite the size and weight.

Will the next heavily marketed mp3 player kill the iPod right away? Will Microsoft manage to kill Macromedia Flash with its new products? Will Apple Aperture overtake Photoshop's market? I think you know what my answer would be, as a hint - it's a two letter word.

Note: The image used with this post is the fine work of Ollie Bragg.
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