It would appear that we aren’t the only ones who have trouble keeping up with all the new technology these days: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich posted a video on YouTube recently informing consumers that while they might think they’re holding a “cell phone,” they’re wrong. “If it’s taking pictures, it’s not a cell phone,” Gingrich explains. It’s time to find a name for this thing, and Newt says he needs our help.
In all two minutes and 53 seconds of Gingrich’s video “We’re Really Puzzled,” not once does he mention the term most of the world has been using, “smartphone.” Instead, he says “I’ve been calling it a handheld computer.”
After discussing all the things you can do with these handheld computers, like an app to find a local McDonald’s or networking with anyone around the world, Gingrich puts out a call to the public to help him figure out what to call this goshdarned thing.
“So having failed for several days to come up with an adequate term for the device we call a ‘cell phone,’ we want to open the discussion up to you. Let us know in the comments what you think we should name it, and we’ll feature the best ones in a future newsletter.”
The comments on the video really say it all, among them:
“Wow, that’s a really smart phone! Hey…wait a minute…let’s call it a phonesmart!” and “I vote the “NewTelephone”. Then it will remind us of it’s predecessor (Telephone) and the man who brought it to us (Newt).”
Newt, if you’re pulling our leg, we commend you. And if you’re not, we’d like to submit “smartphone” as a possible name for these little computers that can fit in your hand and also make phone calls.
UPDATE: Mashable‘s Alex Fitzpatrick says he talked to a Gingrich staffer who sort of explains what he’s trying to get at. When asked why Gingrich won’t just call it a smartphone, the staffer says:
Because it’s not a smarter way to make phone calls.
And it’s not even primarily a phone anymore.
He is trying to say calling these devices smart phones is like calling a car a horseless carriage.
Point being a change of kind has occurred (not just an evolution) which we have just begun to understand — the potential and the implications.
Point taken, but again, he doesn’t even decry the use of the word “smartphone,” as he never uses that term in the video, only “cell phones,” so the message gets a bit lost.