By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 8:14 pm
The Inquirer is reporting (in its usually snarky manner*) that the operating system currently known as Windows Mobile will be redubbed Windows Phone, apparently when version 6.5 comes out. Could be, although it seems kind of limiting, and I wonder if it’s a garbled misunderstanding of news that Microsoft announced back at Mobile World Congress in February–that Windows Mobile based phones would be known as Windows Phones, but that the OS would still be called Windows Mobile. (When Steve Ballmer announced this bifurcation, he looked a bit guilty, as if he knew it was lame even as he was explaining it.)
Whether the name change is happening or not, it does bring up an interesting question: Are we going to call these things phones forever? More and more, making voice calls is but one feature of devices that do a ton of stuff, and not necessarily the most important one. I’m prepared to believe that we’ll still refer to the descendants of today’s smartphones as phones decades from now. And as a traditionalist, I’d be okay with that–if Alexander Graham Bell is up there watching all this, he’d be pleased.
But I could also see that name going away in favor of something that more accurately describes all that these gadgets can do. How about PC? Maybe we can claim it stands for Personal Communicator…
*I’m not sure if the whole “vole” thing was ever funny, but wouldn’t it be cool if the Inquirer quietly retired it?