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How 10 great products got their names

Etymology of iPod, BlackBerry and Wikipedia

They sound right now, but how did our favourite products get their odd names? From iPod and BlackBerry to Twitter and Wikipedia, PC Advisor explains.

Coming up with a great technology product or service is only half the battle these days. Creating a name for said product that is at once cool but not too cool or exclusionary, marketable to both early adopters and a broader audience, and, of course, isn't already in use and protected by various trademarks and copyright laws is difficult-to say the least.

The makers of these 10 tech products-the iPod, BlackBerry, Firefox, Twitter, Windows 7, ThinkPad, Android, Wikipedia, Mac OS X and the "Big Cats," and Red Hat Linux - all have displayed certain amounts 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.

iPod: 'Open the pod bay door, Hal'

Apple 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.

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 Apple iMac was complete.

NEXT PAGE: BlackBerry and Firefox

  1. Apple iPod
  2. BlackBerry and Firefox
  3. Twitter and Windows 7
  4. Wikipedia and Mac OS X
  5. Red Hat Linux


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