Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

Check out my Phablet!

And other awful names for pieces of technology.

Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 13:44


Expect to hear a lot more about Phablets as Nokia launched the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 today. Maybe ‘giant phones’ isn’t as catchy a name, but calling something ‘phablet’ as if the Phone and the Tablet are a celebrity couple is truly awful.

I’m not really into large screen phones anyway. They hark back to PalmPilots, where people in suits on public transport crawled around the floor looking for their stylos that had fallen when the bus turned a sharp corner. They don’t fit in your pocket, there’s more screen to get scratched, and even holding them comfortably in your hand without getting phablet cramp is difficult. The only stylo I like is this one.

Naming products is a funny aul game, and there have been some real dodgy ones over the years. Dodgy product names immediately makes you think of The Homer car from The Simpsons. Tech companies love xs and ys and numbers, but it’s best to stick with something simple.

Anyone remember the Casio / Verizon G’zOne? Thought not. Naming a product after something that sounds like an undiscovered member of Wu Tang Clan or a dodgy X Factor boyband probably wasn’t the best move.

The Wii is also an awful name, although like Kindle – another terrible name – the product managed to be good enough for people to overlook it. The Wii U on the other hand, took things too far.

Motorola’s Droid Xyboard‘s secured them a huge share of the tablet market. Only joking! A Droid Xyboard might be useful though if the prop designers on Battlestar Galactica were running out of ideas, but not in real actual life.

Pentax took a decent camera and threw its marketing into oblivion my calling it *ist. I don’t even know how you’re meant to approach pronouncing that? Starist? Does that mean you’re a space racist or something though? Asterixist? Do you dislike iconic French comics?

Netflix might be king of the castle now, but re-branding their DVD delivery service as Qwikster was a terrible idea. It evokes chocolate milk or a really bad business card printing company. They canned it pretty quickly, and now look at them! Accept your mistakes, and move on, that’s the Netflix lesson.

The Samsung Corby is up there too. Congratulations on naming your phone after a cartoon dog of some sort. It was rebranded as something even more confusing: Genio Touch, and then they just threw in the towel altogether and called it the Samsung S3650 which is just admitting defeat really. Bear in mind, we’re talking about a company that once named one of their phones Honey Bubble SPH-W8700.

Sony’s 2010 line of small camcorders birthed the Bloggie. I actually think I owned one of these at some stage but never used it for anything. It was a classic case of, what’s cool? Blogs are cool! Name it after those! Fail.

Is the iPad a rubbish name? Like Wii and Kindle, the quality of the product (although, let’s face it, iPads are pretty superfluous when you have a laptop and phone, I just use mine when I’m traveling), made naming something that sounded like a new breakthrough menstruation technology just about getawaywithit-able. Sticking an ‘i’ in front of anything is a bad move at this stage unless you actually are Apple.