I have a problem at the moment – with the word mobile. So I wanted to ask you – whoever you are and whatever you do – what you would do to relabel that object?
Let me give you a short explainer. I have an HTC Hero. A smart phone. Once excitedly unboxed and charged up, I spent many hours adding apps from the market, rearranging the interface to suit my tastes and generally getting used to the touch screen and trying to find things like contacts and photo albums easily. It was utterly absorbing and quite fun. Then the object rang loud in my hands. I nearly dropped it and had heart failure. I had totally forgotten that what I had in my clammy fists was also a mobile phone. I had explored the wireless comms side of things via Twitter and text but an actual ringing telephony device had slipped from my ideas about it.
A similar thing happened when a friend and mobile expert was exploring my new gadget. It rang and he nearly crapped himself. (No mild amusement for me there.)
I see that brands are changing the way they name their objects, not so much smart phone or mobile phone or cell phone, but single word naming nouns – like naming a car brand – Droid, Hero, Pre etc.
It was through watching someone else deftly scroll through his iphone a while back and then to hear his other phone ring in his pocket, that the penny dropped that these things are not best used as telephony devices and in fact many people were engaging their iphones as 3g wireless computers of great portability. Makes me wonder why the iphone is still called an i-phone if people don’t make calls on them.
So, if brands and makers are adjusting their labels, what do we call a portable computing device that also can make calls and be used for mobile communication, and as an organiser and a games machine and a video player, and a music streamer and….
The word Mobile or Cell seems very closely linked to the word “phone” in my mind. Maybe I should watch more sci fi to find a name for these things. For the moment though, I am trying to sketch out a scenario with a multi use mobile object and you know, I’m still not sure what to call it. What would you call it? Hopefully something short and catchy…