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iPod, BlackBerry, Twitter: how 10 iconic products got their names

What's behind the biggest tech brands

Creating a name for a technology product that is cool, marketable to both early adopters and a broader audience, and isn't already trademarked is difficult, to say the least. Marketers have to be creative and "think outside of the box", and end up coming up with product names such as BlackBerry, which seemed an odd choice to begin with, but is now synomymous with mobile email.

But what's behind the product names for the world's biggest technology products? The makers of these 10 products - the BlackBerry, the iPod, Firefox, Twitter, Windows 7, ThinkPad, Android, Wikipedia, Mac OS X and Red Hat Linux - have all displayed certain amounts of marketing savvy, common sense and fun-loving spirit in settling on their products' names. Here are the intriguing, surprising and sometimes predictable accounts of their creation.

Why is the iPod called the iPod?

During Apple's MP3 player development, Steve Jobs spoke of Apple's strategy: the Mac as a hub to other gadgets.

Vinnie Chieco, a freelance copywriter Apple hired to help name the gadget before its debut in 2001, fixed on that idea, according to Wired. He brainstormed hubs of all kinds, eventually coming to the concept of a spaceship. You could leave it, but you'd have to return to refuel.

The stark plastic front of the prototype inspired the final connection: pod, a la 2001. Add an 'i' and the connection to the iMac was complete.

Why is the BlackBerry called the BlackBerry?

Canada's Research in Motion called on Lexicon Branding to help name its new wireless email device in 2001. The consultancy pushed RIM founders away from the word 'email', which research shows can raise blood pressure.

Instead, they looked for a name that would evoke joy and somehow give feelings of peace. After someone made the connection that the small buttons on the device resembled a bunch of seeds, Lexicon's team (see profile) explored names like strawberry, melon and various vegetables before settling on blackberry - a word both pleasing and which evoked the black colour of the device.

How did the iPod get its name?

How did the BlackBerry get its name?

How did Firefox get its name?

How did Twitter get its name?

How did Windows 7 get its name?

How did the ThinkPad get its name?

How did Google Android get its name?

How did Wikipedia get its name?

How did Mac OS X Leopard get its name?

How did Red Hat Linux get its name?


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