Do tech headlines that pose questions usually negate themselves?

Yes. Yes, they do. And it's fun to watch them do it.

Credit: Photo by milos milosevic/Flickr

When a headline in a technology-focused blog, column, or magazine asks a question, there is one response that works almost every single time. That response is, "No, probably not, and you know better."

Want to give it a try? Sorry, didn't mean to ask yet another question right there. But let's get down to it.

Is NFC Finally Becoming Mobile's Next Big Thing? -

So, again, the response is: "No, probably not, and you know better." I previously wrote about the stalled efforts to implement NFC since 2004. Yet there are analysts--analysts!--that predict "that 1.95 billion NFC-enabled devices will ship in 2017, the lion's share of which will be smartphones." And NFC chips and hooks were "everywhere at Mobile World Congress."

But then, throughout the rest of the article, you will find concerns about security, Apple's reticence to use NFC, and, perhaps most notably, Forrester Research's statement that "we don't believe the majority of consumers will use mobile contactless payments before the end of the decade, even in the most developed countries."

Those are pretty big exceptions to all that enthusiasm! But keep going, to the second-to-last paragraph, where the truth often comes out in a Question Mark Piece:

But for now, says Mr. Hung, the thing that is likely to grab consumer's attention is something as simple as pairing—allowing two devices to talk to each other. Yet without a single, eye-grabbing feature, educating consumers—many of whom don't even know they have it on their phone—about the benefits of NFC is going to be a challenge.

The last paragraph is an enthusiastic what-if scenario posed for a Swedish NFC-powered doorknob/lock. So it looks like maybe the real question for the piece was, "Doesn't NFC seem like such a cool technology, if only everyone would agree to use it?"

But the Journal did a good job of explaining the NFC market in that piece. So let's move on to other Question Mark Pieces.

Samsung Is On A Roll, But Can It Beat Apple? - NPR

Samsung's recent Galaxy S4 phone launch generate "a buzz in the tech media," and "(its) top-of-the-line smartphone briefly outsold the iPhone." But! Venture capitalist Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz says:

"The closest sort of analog to where Samsung is would be Dell."


Although Samsung had its best quarter ever last year, the profit margin on each new smartphone it sells is slipping. Many analysts believe it's going to be increasingly difficult for Samsung to stand out from other phone makers, unless it can create its own distinctive software.

From "can it beat Apple" to "will its brand even exist in the public mind soon?" What a roller coaster!

Will the Austin startup ecosystem ever live up to its promise? - PandoDaily.

Second-to-last paragraph emphatically says "No":

That attitude represents both boon and bane. It means you are unlikely to find in Austin the world’s most ambitious entrepreneurs bent on building the next killer tech company. But you are going to find a city of content people who can see life beyond the Internet’s fences.

Is This the PS4 or Just Another Crappy Bluetooth Speaker? - Gizmodo (UK)

From the post: "Or, even less thrillingly, it might be an Easter egg. A joke. A stupid, rubbish joke, that we've just fallen for."

From the comments: "(F)rom the facebook page itself: "Sony UK: Before anyone gets too excited, it's NOT the PlayStation 4."

Drones: A Booming Business? -

It's a video report and, honestly, who has 4 minutes and 41 seconds these days? (Sorry, again with the rhetorical questions in my own piece!) But how many of your neighbors do you think will own drones in the next 5 years?

Before I close out this exercise in Lazy Media Studies 201, let me clarify that Question Mark Pieces are those that end with a question mark. Those that reflexively answer the question are just fine. Take Peter Kafka's post at AllThingsD: Waiting for the Cord-Cutting Numbers to Show Up? Keep Waiting.. That is just fine by me.

Or is it?

Read more of Kevin Purdy's Mobilize! blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevinpurdy. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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