Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Coming up with a great technology product or service is only half the battle these days. Creating a name for said product that is at once cool but not too cool or exclusionary, marketable to both early adopters and a broader audience, and, of course, isn't already in use and protected by various trademarks and copyright laws is difficult--to say the least.
The makers of these 10 tech products--the iPod, BlackBerry, Firefox, Twitter, Windows 7, ThinkPad, Android, Wikipedia, Mac OS X and the "Big Cats," and Red Hat Linux--all have displayed certain amounts marketing savvy, common sense and fun-loving spirit in settling on their products' names. Here are the intriguing, surprising and sometimes predictable accounts of their creation.
iPod: "Open the pod bay door, Hal"

During Apple's MP3 player development, Steve Jobs spoke of Apple's strategy: the Mac as a hub to other gadgets. Vinnie Chieco, a freelance copywriter Apple hired to help name the gadget before its debut in 2001, fixed on that idea, according to Wired. He brainstormed hubs of all kinds, eventually coming to the concept of a spaceship. You could leave it, but you'd have to return to refuel. The stark plastic front of the prototype inspired the final connection: pod, a la 2001. Add an "i" and the connection to the iMac was complete.
BlackBerry: Sweet Addictiveness

Canada's Research in Motion called on Lexicon Branding to help name its new wireless e-mail device in 2001. The consultancy pushed RIM founders away from the word "e-mail," which research shows can raise blood pressure. Instead, they looked for a name that would evoke joy and somehow give feelings of peace. After someone made the connection that the small buttons on the device resembled a bunch of seeds, Lexicon's team (see profile) explored names like strawberry, melon and various vegetables before settling on blackberry--a word both pleasing and which evoked the black color of the device.
Firefox: Second Time's a Charm

Choosing a name that evokes a product's essence and is available can be quite complicated, as the Mozilla folks found out. The early version of Mozilla's browser was called Firebird, but due to another open-source project with the same name, the Mozilla elders renamed their browser Firefox, which is another name for red panda. Why? "It's easy to remember. It sounds good. It's unique. We like it," they said. Best of all? Nobody else was using it.
Twitter: Connecting the Digital Flock 140 Characters at a Time

When cofounder Biz Stone saw the application that Jack Dorsey created in 2006 he was reminded of the way birds communicate: "Short bursts of information...Everyone is chirping, having a good time." In response, Stone came up with "twttr," and the group eventually added some vowels. It's hard to think of a more evocative name in the tech world than twitter, but what began as what Stone described as "trivial" bursts of communication developed into a powerful means of networking, breaking news, and forum for the 44th U.S. president's campaign.
Windows 7: Counting on the Power of 7

While Microsoft's next OS is kind of a "Ho-hum" name, one has only to look at what happened with the most recent Windows release to understand why Microsoft might have gone back to a tried-and-true naming philosophy: Vista? Ouch. Windows 95 and XP? Those have done much better. Microsoft's Mike Nash announced the name this way: "Simply put, this is the seventh release of Windows, so therefore 'Windows 7' just makes sense." We're betting that Microsoft execs are hoping that number 7 will deliver on its promise of luck--they could sure use a win after Vista.

Thomas Wailgum, CIO
{end of first installment - watch my future posts for the second part installment}

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pinaykeypoint said...

wow, these are nice infos bout techs and gadgets' birth names :)

Well, just like us, how did we arrived with our blog names?

hmmm... like you're using warshock, i thought you're some kind of a retired soldier blogging about wars like euroyank, one of my blogger friend :)

diTesco said...

That was pretty entertaining read. Never did bother too much where all these gadgets name came from. I agree with pinaykeypoint about your brand "WARSHOCK". Care to tell us the story behind it? lol

Great post, and BTW thanks for dropping by.

WARSHOCK said...

Nice questions, almost got me cornered. lol..I've written about that at a Blog Catalog discussion,'What made you choose your blog titles?' @ ..You can join the discussion, it's fun and the replies are long enough. Looks like the title WARSHOCK is eyecatching, in ad terms, don't you think? jaz joking,guyz. lol..thanks for the comments and for asking.

Hammed said...

Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Nurse Jen Doll said...

Those are actually interesting. I've never thought of them before, but now that I've read that it makes sense lol

Hm.. my blog, let's see how I came up with it. I looked at the mirror lol

-Nurse Jen Doll
Your Daily Reality Nursing

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