September 04, 2010
There are many things in life that we just take for granted and rarely think about. The way gadget companies name their products is one of them. I know, not an interesting topic. But I have always wondered about that since I started using my first gadgets a long time ago: video games, personal computers, VCR, cell phones, etc.
Gadget names such as Nokia 5230, TK2000, Asus Eee PC 1015PE, Canon PowerShot A110 IS, Garmin GPSMAP 62St, HP Deskjet F4580 and others really seem like they are supposed to be readable by machines, not humans. They sound too complicated, too techie, too cryptic, and even scary for people who don’t really care about technology itself. Those names are just unnatural for most of us. I know, you might argue that there’s a reason for using those weird sequences of letters and numbers. It doesn’t matter. Those names just don’t make natural sense for most people.
Some companies are doing a better job on naming their products though. Apple, for example, uses human-readable names for all their products. They even keep same name for different generations of the same product e.g. all generations of MacBook is simply called MacBook. HTC and Samsung are getting it right too with their new Android phones — Captivate, Galaxy, Desire, Hero, etc. And there are many others doing it right these days but it’s still quite common to see things like Panasonic TX-P37X20B and Toshiba HDDR320E04ELCS, unfortunately.
So, if you’re directly involved in the decision of gadget names for your companies, please, give your next product a meaningful and human-friendly name! Let’s make the technology world a bit less scary for everyone.