10 Worst Ways to Name a Gadget
They say there’s nothing new under the sun and every year Hollywood proves them right by releasing another raft of soiled remakes and plotless sequels. However, the movie studios have nothing on phone and notebook makers who just keep on churning through the same same lame naming conventions. As a tech journalist who has to type in all of these names and talk about them incessantly at morning meetings, I’m begging you, please stop with the following naming conventions:
- Naming your product after one of the seven deadly sins. If I have to review one more gadget that’s named Envy, I’m going to move from my current state of despair to one of wrath. And folks you’re not fooling anyone when you name your product “NV-XXXX.” We get it. You’re trying to say that if we buy your product we’ll be the envy of all of our friends. But don’t you realize that if you name it Envy and we buy it, not only will we be leading our neighbors down the primrose path to hell, we’ll be committing Pride ourselves?
What’s next? A smart phone named the Gluttony that’s filled with recipes or a gaming-centric device named the Sloth? If Bibleman would not approve of the behavior, you shouldn’t name your phone after it.
- Using creative capitalization. In the mind of every marketing director, there are two warring forces. On the right shoulder sits a grammar angel saying: “just capitalize the first letter in each word of a title. That’s how we learned it in school.” But a powerful demon is perched on the left shoulder imploring the manager to make a name for herself by either capping entire words or, worse still, throwing capital letters into the middle of a lower case word. We’re looking at you enTourage eDGe.
- Using verbs as nouns. Samsung, Motorola, and LG are probably the worst offenders here, naming their phones things like the Devour and Dare. Worse still, most of these verbs aren’t actions you want to be associated with. Do you really want to be known as someone who just “rants?” And do you want a phone like the Samsung Strive that is just trying really hard, because it’s not quite there yet.
- Superlative names. Look, we know you’re proud of your products and by all means it’s better to show off than to be ashamed or admit you’re an also-ran (see “Samsung Strive”), but how about some humility, HTC? Consumers don’t need you to name your product the “Droid Incredible” or the “Hero” to know that it’s good. They’ll find out from reading the reviews at laptopmag.com and elsewhere, honest they will.
And what’s with all the illuminated names, LG and HP? Unless the phone belongs to Edward and Bella from Twilight we don’t want it to Shine or Glisten.
- Using “NB” ” in the model name to tell us it’s a netbook. In a world where toothpicks need instruction manuals, there really must be some consumers who are stupid enough not to know what kind of product they are looking at. I mean, when we first looked at the Toshiba NB305 with its metal deck and ridged lid, we actually thought it was a miniature Foreman grill, but thank goodness the “NB” at the beginning of its name clued us in. And the Samsung NB30 could easily be mistaken for a Sears Craftsman toolbox if not for the first two characters in its model number.
- Self-absorbed names. Look, we know phones, notebooks, and even Web sites are made just for us. You don’t need to invite Gen X or Y to be any more self-centered than they already are. So please stop naming products with the prefix “My” or the suffix “Me.” T-Mobile, we know your phone responds to “MyTouch” — who else’s touch would it respond to — but we really don’t need the images that name provokes. And using Apple’s MobileMe service, for example, we can’t help but feel like we’re Alex Rodriguez kissing our own reflection in the mirror.
- Using X in the model name. If every town has an Elm street, every notebook manufacturer has an X series, which is usually its slickest set of ultraportables. Ok, we get it, you want us to know just how Xtremely thin your chassis are. And maybe you also want to catch some of the cool juice flowing off of the X-Men or the X-Files, but we’re sorry. The moment has passed.
- Sharp names. If I have to review one more product named after a razor, a blade, or an edge, I’m going to slash my own wrists. We understand your products are ahead of their time, but why don’t you leave that for the user to determine?
- Naming every version of a product the same exact thing. There’s nothing like a MacBook Pro, particularly when every single MacBook Pro since the beginning time has been named “MacBook Pro” and nothing else. Try Googling for that search term and see whether you end up with details about a product from the stone age or one from 2010.
- Implying that your gadget is my only friend. I know us nerds have a reputation for living in our mom’s basements and having poor social skills, but that’s a negative stereotype and, even if it were true, we wouldn’t want to celebrate it. We’re not like the kid in this commercial. So stop with the names that pretend your gizmo is a friend to the friendless. We have real Kin that aren’t from Microsoft, we don’t need your Android phone to be our Ally, and if we need a Buddy it won’t be from Avaratec.
Seeing this list, you might think I’m picky, but really all I want are products with simple yet, memorable names that let their features do the talking, like the Archos series of tablets for example. Archos simply names its products after their screen sizes: Archos 5, 7, and 9. Google’s Nexus One phone also stands out as a product with a simple, yet original name. Frankly, I’d even rather have a hardcore model number like the ASUS U30JC-1A than another product using the played out patterns above.
Online Editorial Director Avram Piltch oversees the production and infrastructure of LAPTOP’s web site. With a reputation as the staff’s biggest geek, he has also helped develop a number of LAPTOP’s custom tests, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. Catch the Geek’s Geek column here every other week or follow Avram on twitter.