If you can remember all the way back to the dim and distant pre-iPad era, you will recall there was a great deal of speculation as to what Apple was going to call their upcoming “giant iPod” device. The initial frontrunner was the iTablet, which was surpassed by the iSlate when some Apple that term while trying to describe what was to come.
When the name “iPad” was finally announced, it was not very well received. To some it sounded far to much like feminine protection. In fact, most of the late night talk shows made jokes about that initially, including clever graphics and everything. To others, it was a little too geekish, bringing back scary memories of Star Trek’s “Padd”. By all accounts, it was a poor choice…but Apple gave no ground and people got used to it. In fact, by the magic of Apple people began to like it. Now, it seems we can’t seem to get rid of it.
These days it seems like many of the tablet devices due for release this year have some variation of Pad in the name. The Eee Pads (two different versions, but both Pads) supposedly being developed by Asus are a perfect example. Chinese vendor Lenovo will be releasing one too apparently, called LePad (French..classy). Of course both companies swear that their devices are NOT iPad knockoffs, they just happened to be called Pads but are really quite unique and so much more than Apple’s product.
The latest announcement, and the most nonsensical, comes from HP who have filed for a trademark on the term “PalmPad”. Most tech blogs are assuming that will be the name of the conjectured webOS based table to be released as the first fruits of HP purchase of Palm.
When you consider the rich history of the Palm brand, why choose a name that will immediately cause people to assume the device is inspired solely by Apple’s newest creation? Palm has been creating touchscreen devices for so long that their products were part of the inspiration for the Newton, which in turn begat the iPad. Therefore, by all rights the iPad should be named after a Palm device, not vice versa.
Personally I think that HP and Palm should pay homage to that long and noble history with this new device. Rather then trying to hang onto Apple’s coat tails, they should choose a name that will connect not to Cupertino, but to the many popular devices that Palm used to define the mobile device market.
In short, I think that HP should call this new tablet a PalmPilot.
It is a name that most tech users know well and it is even familiar to the mainstream, but is far enough removed from the present that people won’t assume it will have a three inch green screen or a stylus. Most former users have pleasant memories of the Palm Pilot and would be happy to see a new generation of the device. If HP wishes to make it doubly clear that this isn’t your Father’s Palm Pilot, add a hip, futuristic model name to it such as the PalmPilot Neo or the PalmPilot Quatro (that is, the generation after the Treo).
If HP/Palm really wish to ensure that their new webOS device stands on its own, and in many ways it has a better chance to succeed then the vast array of identical Android tablets that other vendors are hocking, then they should reach to their past for inspiration, not just Apple’s present.
PalmPilot is a name they could take to the bank…and they should.