Monday, January 31, 2011

About time we named these new gadgets

For several years now we've called our most popular new gadgets Mobile Devices. That's a name only a geek could love. We have smartphones and tablets of all sizes and they all share common characteristics so it makes sense to name this group. I think they should be referred to as - drum roll - Companion Computers. First, they really are computers and should be identified that way. Some are used as phones but referring to them as phones misleads the public into thinking they are primarily phones - they are not. We've had desktop computers and laptop or portable computers so it makes sense to use the word computer here as well. In fact, some survey organizations are now including iPads in computer sales statistics as I believe they should.

Companion has two meanings. First, many of these new devices will be with us constantly and will be our companions. Certainly smartphones and the smaller tablets - think smartphones without a phone - will be in our pockets, our bags and our cars. Larger tablets can be taken and used everywhere much more easily than "traditional" computers. Second, these computers will also be companions for our desktop and portable computers. They will not replace them in the near future and will coexist peacefully and perform whatever tasks each one does best.

I'd certainly like to hear what you think - other nominations are welcome.

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