Former “Fake Steve Jobs” technology columnist Dan Lyons looks back at TechCrunch writer MG Siegler’s Amazon tablet “scoop” (that I reblogged here) and makes a point that’s worth remembering: Siegler’s breathless report on the tablet that would become known as the Amazon Fire was almost completely wrong in the details.

The name, the price, the CPU, the internal storage, the free subscription to Amazon Prime, the browser, the e-reading apps, the lack of new e-ink reader models or touchscreen: all wrong. The only things TechCrunch got right were that it had a seven-inch screen and would run Android—and Siegler had actually gotten the chance to hold the device in his hands.

Lyons brings this up, he explains, not to poke fun at TechCrunch (though Siegler seems to have taken it this way nonetheless, as the rebuttal he posted to his blog shows), but to make the point that it’s almost impossible to predict what a company will release up until the point it actually does it.

We would all be better off if we waited for companies to actually announce actual products before we worked ourselves up into a frenzy reporting and discussing their specs and features. Otherwise all we’re doing is allowing ourselves to be exploited by consumer electronics companies, letting them turn us into unpaid members of their hype machine.

And what do we get out of it? We get page views. So at the end of the day what we have accomplished is that maybe we have squeezed a few bucks out of some advertisers by publishing incorrect information that was of little value to anyone. This is what we are doing with our lives.

Lyons makes a good point. I remember plenty of cases where what was speculated ended up being inaccurate about new technological gadgetry, most notably the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch releases of recent years. But we all do it—though in my case at least it’s not so much for page views as it is that it’s just a lot of fun to speculate and talk about these rumors.

So what do you think? Are there one or two new Nook Color models coming up?


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