Why did they call it that?

How these inventions got their name.

IPod: “Open the pod bay door, Hal”

During Apple Inc.’s MP3 player development, Steve Jobs spoke of the company’s strategy: positioning the Mac as a hub to other gadgets. Vinnie Chieco, a freelance copywriter Apple hired to help name the device 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: A Space Odyssey. Add an “i” and the connection to the iMac was complete.

BlackBerry: Sweets Addict

Research In Motion Ltd. called on Lexicon Branding Inc. to help name its new wireless e-mail device in 2001. The consultancy pushed RIM’s founder 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 explored names like “Strawberry,” “Melon” and various vegetables before settling on “BlackBerry” — a word that was pleasing and 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 because of another open-source project with the same name, the foundation’s elders renamed their browser Firefox, which is another name for the 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 co-founder 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 a forum for the 44th U.S. president’s campaign.

Windows 7: Counting on the Power of 7

While Microsoft Corp.’s next operating system is kind of a ho-hum name, one has only to look at what happened with its most recent Windows release to understand why the company 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 No. 7 will deliver on its promise of luck — they could sure use a win after Vista.

Full Article: Computer World

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