Gadgetry Hope

Half of technology rumors nowadays follow a Mad Libs-ian template1:

(reputable technology company) is rumored to be working on a (untouched, potentially sexy gadget). Their expertise in (what the company is good at) can bring a fresh look at the (previously deemed stale industry). Here is a click-bait list of speculation that would make no sense as a business model but would make for an awesome geek wishlist.

Hey, here’s one talking about Apple and/or Google building a game console. How timely, after the E3 console unveilings.

Of course, these rumors gain traction because it’s easy to pattern match and apply desirable attribute X to (customer) product category Y. Although figuring out one area and then using that expertise as leverage in other fields is a valid business strategy, speculative application is shallow at best (e.g., they’re good at design/data/social/speed, and this ten-year-old thing can certainly use a dose of it!).

It doesn’t help that many of these rumors become plausible because the current tech stars – Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook – all have money to throw at unprofitable and wild ideas, and have business models that allow for generous subsidies of endeavors unrelated to their core products. They spend years building and maintaining systems that couldn’t survive on their own (e.g., streaming music services), and these offshoots help fuel a thousand blog posts and commentary on what could exist in the bowels of an unknown R&D lab.

Look, I get that it’s fun to think about the possibilities of technology, and unreliable rumors are standard blog fodder. The issue I have with our current state of rampant rumor-mongering is that it sucks the oxygen out of the room for everybody else; people and companies who are building interesting things are downplayed when one of these big gorillas trickles out half a story and dominates the news cycle.

So instead of tripping over ourselves in a rush to redesign an already redesigned OS, maybe we can focus our energy and enthusiasm on the up-and-comers, the innovators, and the differentiators.

  1. Huge bonus if the technology involves a piece of hardware.

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