November 29, 2006
The End of Television, Cell Phones, Car Phones?
Today, we will put to rest three outdated technology device names that have to finally be considered outdated: "television," "cell phone," and "car phone."
Take a look at this blog on Funny Business that will bring you back to 1988, when Radio Shack could charge $1,499 for a cellular phone (I can’t remember when I used that name) and watch an ad for a car phone from the same year. If you must refer to a mobile phone that is especially for use in a car, the term to use, in my opinion, is “in-car phone” such as the Motorola M710 or a “handsfree” set - although you really cannot ask somebody to call you on your "handsfree.”
Textually.org has a nice post linking to a recent Business Week article, Time To Rename the Cell Phone?, reminding us that Nokia already refers to their units as “multimedia computers” and Samsung calls them “mobile information terminals.” The name cellphone or cell phone or, most egregiously, cell-phone, is just plain outdated, like the term “icebox.”
At one point, the fridge was a box with ice in it, hence the term icebox. At one point, analog mobile phones used “cells” of coverage in cities, hence the term “cellular phone”, which was shortened to “cell phone.” Those cells are no longer really used in the digital age.
With the advent of WiFi and WiMax and broadband phones, Time magazine has come out and asked its European readers what to do about the “New Wireless Tangle” - you need a glossary just to keep up with what is available. MocoNews points out that Motorola CEO Ed Zander refers to them as “the device formerly known as the cell phone.” And are people out there asking others to call them on their “broadband phone”?
This leaves us with the term “television” and even the term “radio,” both which the BBC thinks are obsolete. The BBC (Britain’s largest TV network) now refers to its video content as “Vision” and the name “radio” has been dropped in favor of “Audio and Music.” This, thinks David Deans, is the beginning of the end for these old, achingly analog terms.
I have to agree. While we in the U.S., the ones who came up with the term “cell phone” in the first place, while the Brits skipped happily to “mobiles”, will probably still stubbornly use the terms “television”, and “radio” for some years to come, their days are now officially numbered.
My prediction is that “television” will go first, and the term “TV” will linger on (think HDTV and 2DTV). “Radio” will also stay just long enough to go out when the last TV is switched off. And you read here first.
What do you think?
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