These days it’s just not good enough to give your phone or tablet an unassuming name like the RX-5050 or M3420e. Instead, mobile device makers spend their days masterminding memorable monikers that are supposed to generate buzz. More often, though, they cause static or confusion. Here are the very worst of the lot.
Ainovo Novo7 Swordman
Like a knock-off breakfast cereal made by “Keylogs”, the Ainovo brand sounds like it was designed to fool shoppers into thinking they’re getting a Lenovo. But because one “novo” in the name is one too few, the Chinese OEM that makes this cheap tablet added another one for good measure. Don’t ask us what the Swordman part means. Though we haven’t crossed blades with this slate, the more boring Ainovo Novo7 Basic’s creaky plastic casing and slow speeds didn’t impress.
HP Veer 4G
Generally speaking, you don’t want to name a gadget after something that happens right before a traffic accident. Unfortunately for HP, the name of its first webOS smartphone was particularly prescient. After users passed this disaster of a handset, the company veered away from its entire mobile strategy and hit a wall.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
In a bow to Arithmomaniacs, Samsung gives you 200 per cent more model numbers than its main competitor and separates them with just an empty space — no dashes or commas here. Even better, the number 2 is a homonym for “too.” The store clerk could hear, “I want a Galaxy Tab too, 10.1”, and give you last year’s model instead.
While other Android phones may drunk-dial your ex girlfriends without permission, LG’s $US79 handset remains clear-headed even when you load it down with lots of apps. Even better, the Lucid can download your email while in a sleep state, a form of “Lucid” dreaming.
Hewlett Packard’s abortive attempt at a webOS slate was a failure from the moment the company picked its name. The moniker meisters in Palo Alto seemed blissfully unaware that “touchpad” has been used to describe the pointing device on notebooks (including HP’s) for ages. Consumers may have thought that the short-lived slate, which was pulled from the market after just 57 days, was just a peripheral. Or maybe they noticed the lack of apps, sluggish performance and ugly design.
Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch
With almost as many names as Sean Combs, the Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch is the world’s most tongue-twisty telephone. Though the same handset was simply called the Galaxy S II on most other carriers, US carrier Sprint felt compelled to tack on three extra words just for its version. The word “Epic” honoured the older Epic 4G. And 4G and Touch were added because you just can’t overstate the obvious enough. Up next: the Samsung Galaxy S III Epic Surfs Web and Does Lots of Other Stuff.
T-Mobile myTouch 4G
A phone designed for the “me” generation, the myTouch 4G is made by HTC, manufacturer of phones that “get you.” With its sleek rounded curves and bright screen, it’s made to look great when you stare longingly in the mirror at yourself.
If you need a smartphone to be your friend, I promise not to mess with your red Swingline stapler. Hardly an Ally, LG’s low-end handset suffered from short battery life, a small display and a weak camera when it was released in 2010. But if you still sleep with your My Buddy doll, this phone is for you.
If you can’t afford a smartphone, look on the bright side: At least this Samsung feature phone has a QWERTY keyboard and the ability to check email, read documents and update Facebook. If you always look on the bright side of life, you won’t care that this craptastic handset has a tiny 3.2-inch screen, a processor that CNET describes as “slow as slugs” and a price ($US119) that’s higher than many dual-core, 4G Android handsets.
The new iPad
Some companies want to deny history and act as if their new product was the only one of its kind. By naming its third-generation iPad simply “the iPad”, Apple committed a grave crime both against search engine optimisation and common sense. Try doing a search for “Apple iPad” and you might get results for the 2012 model and the 2010 original. Uninitiated users also will see the iPad 2 and think that it’s newer than the “new iPad” because it actually has a version number. And just wait until “the new new iPad” comes out in 2013!
ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700
If you can name all of ASUS’ half million notebook/tablet hybrids, you deserve a prize. There’s the original Eee Pad Transformer, which gave way to the Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201. After that, ASUS must have realised it didn’t like the “Eee” brand anymore, because it called its next device the Transformer Pad TF300. As if the not-so-veiled Michael Bay references weren’t bad enough, the new Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 kicks it up a notch, to infinity and beyond. Try saying Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 five times fast, I dare you.
HP iPaq Glisten
Clearly targeted at closet “Twilight” fans, this 2010-era Windows Mobile 6.5 phone glistens in the sun just like a vampire. And just like abstinence-only Edward, the iPaq Glisten’s low-res screen was resistive to touch, often confusing users’ attempts to scroll with attempts to select an icon. Members of Team Jacob found themselves clawing at the QWERTY keyboard, looking for apps but not finding many.
Voted the phone least likely to offend either your family or the Shaolin temple, the Huawei Honor follows a strict Android code. With middling specs like the 854 x 480 screen and a single-core processor, this non-contract phone can’t overpower the big boss, but at least it won’t require you to honour a two-year contract.
The first rule of gadget naming is “Don’t insult your customers.” There’s a reason Hostess will never come out with a snack cake called “Gorge” and Panasonic won’t name a TV “the Vegetate”. However, Samsung did come out with a slider phone called the Rant in 2008, effectively telling its users that they were nothing more than a bunch of blowhards who like to hear the sound of their own texts arriving. Good thing the company didn’t release a social networking phone called the Overshare or one with a low-light camera called the Stalk.
If you’re up at bat, the last thing you want to do is hit into a double play, unless you’re LG and you don’t know any better. But considering all of this dual-screen phone’s problems, perhaps we should take its name as a helpful warning not to swing at T-Mobile’s pitch. Unfortunately, the low-resolution primary screen and annoying split keyboard ended this inning before the phone had a chance to score with shoppers.
eMatic eGlide XL Pro
With a name that sounds like it belongs on a tube of Vaseline, this $US174 Android 4.0 tablet promises everything and delivers nothing. With sluggish performance, short battery life and a fuzzy screen, even the word “Pro” at the end is deceptive. It’ll take more than a little low-cost lubrication to make you slide out your wallet for this slimy slate.
The EFun Nextbook Next5
Hoping everybody would EFun tonight after they Wang Chunged tonight, the Nextbook Next5 tablet looked like a bargain when it launched in summer 2011. For $US299, a decent price for the pre-Kindle Fire era, you got a 5-inch tablet with Android 2.1 and a stylus that the company simply called “Apen”, presumably because someone’s space bar was broken. Unfortunately, the only fun you could have with this device was seeing just how hard you had to press on the resistive touch screen to get a response.
Netbook Navigator Nav9 Slate PC
It’s not a netbook and it doesn’t have GPS, but the Netbook Navigator Nav9 Slate PC doesn’t care about those kinds of things. When LAPTOP reviewed this Windows 7 slate back in 2010, we noted its painfully resistive touch screen, short battery life, heavy weight and mindblowingly high $US974 price. With that kind of performance you’ll be navigating over to a competing poduct.
If you’re going to name your phone after a spicy condiment, it needs to deliver. Unfortunately this Facebook-centric phone, which was wisely renamed for US audiences, is a watery, extra-mild flavour with a tiny 2.6-inch screen, sluggish performance and mediocre Web surfing. Perhaps HTC should have added more peppers and a faster CPU.
Given this phone’s lofty name, you’d have expected to hear a choir singing when you opened the box back in 2008. The phone did have some neat features for its day, including haptic feedback, a 5-MP camera and 3G speeds. Unfortunately, Web pages were nothing special to behold on its mediocre, non-HTML-compliant browser, and its sluggish interface did not make users want to say, “Whoomp there it is.”
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