Mobile Handheld Internet-Enabled Multimedia Cellular Communication Devices And The Applications Or Markup Which Run On Them
Don't tell Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, or Cingular Wireless this, but there's a problem: The word "wireless" is a non-word. It sucks. It talks about something that's not there, rather than something that is. And in case you don't know, in non-American English, "wireless" is a radio for listening to music or maybe a walkie-talkie so it doesn't even make sense to those guys. But beyond that, wireless is just another way to say "no wires" and can apply to a range of technologies from FM Radios, Walkie-Talkies, CB Radios, WiFi, or Cellular. We need something more specific.
Mobile is what I've been using lately - but mostly in print. I revert back to cellular or cellphones when speaking to my fellow Americans. We'll never say the word "mobile" like the British "mo-by-ul", but rather as "mo-bill" so it doesn't sound very good, but I still use it once in a while, but always as an adjective, as in mobile phone. The problem with that is the U.S. "mobile phone" is associated with car phone.
The confusion between wireless and cellular and mobile leads to pundits out there who don't really have a clue and bundle it all together. Another problem is when someone asks what industry I work in and I say "the wireless industry" they respond with something like "cool - I just installed an AirPort on my Mac at home." Yeah, okay.
Look at what the WiFi guys did. They actually defined a new word for their technology. And it worked! Even though "Wireless Fidelity" means absolutely *nothing* to anyone, the fact is that WiFi has stuck as a great handle for the tech. Now people talk about WiFi cards and WiFi hubs and WiFi enabled. It's great. The cellular industry needs to be as organized.
The problem is that lately I've been talking about what has been called the "wireless web" - a term which drives me nuts. "Mobile internet" isn't much better. I mean, if you're using your cellphone to access the internet, are you "online"? I mean there's *no line*... And when you talk about a "web page" most people think you're talking about a page meant to be read with a Personal Computer, not a phone. And if you say WAP people start rolling their eyes and spouting wrong headed things like "...is dead", etc.
This is becoming a real hinderance to communication. I say I'm making a "WAP2" page and even technical people don't hear or understand the "2" part of it and think I'm writing WML. Then I'll clarify and say I'm making a "XHTML-MP" page and no one knows really what I'm talking about either. If I said "mobile page" they'd *really* have no clue what I'm doing, but I swear I'm ready to start saying it. I mean, even the freakin' phone manufacturers don't know what to call it. WAP has the worst reputation ever after not living up to its hype so no phone I've seen in the past few years has labeled their browser by that name. Nokia uses the word "Services" on its phone for some wacked-out reason. Vodafone calls its portal a "menu". It's just a sad state of affairs.
And it's not just markup I'm talking about - there's no word for J2ME apps and Brew apps either. "Midlets" is very specific, and "Java" hasn't caught on (and neither apply to Brew or Symbian apps). I guess you can just call these things "applications" but I've seen all sorts of labels like "games", etc. Urgh. It's just a terminology vacuum!
Except when it isn't. Instead of just saying "internet access" cellular providers for some reason feel the need to expound on *how* the handset is transferring the bytes. Do consumers really care about GPRS, EDGE, CDMA 2000 1x, EVDO, etc.? No. All they care about is the fact that they can check their email from their phone and it takes less time with some phones. That's it. Seeing a label like "1x" on a phone is completely moronic. "One times what? What the hell does that mean?" NORMAL PEOPLE don't know that "x" in this case means "channel." They really don't. It's just mind-boggling the situation we're in.
What's the solution? Should we stick with "wireless" as the main U.S. cellular providers have? Should we start prefacing everything we talk about with "mobile"? "Mobile Web," "Mobile Apps"? Should I just expect that the word "web" will be repurposed when more and more pages start being handset-enabled? What about the word "Mob?" Will that ever lose it's mafia connotations like it has for "moblogging?"
I don't know, but it's frustrating. I want a *word* or abbreviation I can really grab onto that people can associate with what I do. Like "Web" or "WiFi" or "PDA" or "PC" or "MP3" or "DVR" etc. You know what I mean - the type of apps, the industry, etc. - for all those terms, no? That's what I'm looking for.
What word, abbreviation or acronym best describes "Mobile Handheld Internet-Enabled Multimedia Cellular Communication Devices And The Applications Or Markup Which Run On Them?" How can we start a marketing campaign to get that word in use by all 1.25 billion people now using those devices?
No, seriously. I'm asking.