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January 12, 2006

Product Naming: Off by a Single "i"

Entertaible01.jpgEnertaible2.jpgYou may have seen Philip's new product: it marries the technology of a computer with the format of a board game. The product is cool and the name is ... well, I'll leave this for you to decide. Entertaible is obviously a combination of “entertainment” and “table”. Perfectly logical and entirely appropriate.

The thing that puzzles me is why they insisted on spelling the name with an “i”. “Entertable” would have conveyed just as much information—probably more, in fact—without making people stare hard at the name before realizing its meaning and how to pronounce it.

A plague of lower-case “i's” has infested the world of technology products for some time, but they usually attack the beginning of the name. Philips appears to have suffered a more insidious infection, an “i”, plunged straight to the heart of the word rather than taking a head shot.

The Entertaible is barely past the prototype phase, but it may still be too late to operate.

It's worthwhile to read what other blogs have to say about the product:

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    Posted by William Lozito at January 12, 2006 1:33 PM
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    1 Comment

    Is this sort of thing still called a "portmanteau" word? That's the term we were taught in high school, but no one I speak with seems to be familiar with it. The idea is that you've got two words you put together to form another, in the same way that the two halves of a portmanteau (which is not exactly a common word to start with) come together when you close it.

    In any case, I can't imagine Philips put the i in there to represent high technology. If that had been their intention, I expect they'd have called the product the iTable.

    I did a quick search at the USPTO, and I didn't see any claims made on "entertable" (without the i), so I guess they actually intended to use the version they ended up with.

    Do you think it's possible they decided against "entertable" because they were afraid it would be pronounced incorrectly, like en-TER-ta-bull?

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