Back in the mid-1990s, I loved my Psion PDA as much as any gadget I’ve ever owned. But Psion stopped making consumer products years ago, and I wasn’t even positive if the company–which spun off its software unit into phone OS powerhouse Symbian–was still in business.
Well, it is. And JK on the Run is reporting that its lawyers are sending letters to netbook sites telling them they have until the end of March to stop using the term “netbook.” That’s because Psion once made a subnotebook called the netBook, and apparently still has a trademark on the name.
Back in the day, Psion was in many ways a visionary company, and its netBook was very much like a modern netbook–it was an undersized, solid-state notebook designed primarily for going online with.I was tempted to get one at the time. But I hope that its attempts to suppress use of the generic “netbook” go nowhere. I’m no trademark lawyer, but until it started siccing lawyers on people, the current Psion apparently had so have so little interest in its netBook that it’s consigned to a page of discontinued products, and the link for more information is dead. If we’re talking about a dispute between modern-day Psion and the rest of the world, I’m taking the side of the rest of the world.
But the possibility remains that Psion (which calls itself Psion Teklogix these days) may succeed in squelching use of “netbook.” Which would mean we’d need a new name for small, cheap notebooks. The only existing alternative I can think of off the top of my head is Microsoft’s dreadful acronym ULCPC (Ultra Low-Cost Personal Computer). Understandably enough, nobody uses it except for Microsoft.
A few ideas, just in case we need them (tragically, all of these stink):
Webbook (or Webook)
Cloudbook (except for the fact that Everex would complain)
SIN (Small Inexpensive Notebook)
Or we could simply call them…notebooks. Which is what they are.
Any other candidates?