The world's not phanatical about phablets or fond of fonblets
10th Nov 2013 | 13:01
Samsung's absolutely phabulous way with words crashes and burns
Not content with dominating the technological part of the modern world, Samsung's now trying to muscle in on our language - inventing the word "fonblet" to describe the huge mobiles that are becoming commonplace in the bursting pockets of today's consumer. This is something we reported on WAAAY back in January.
It's a bit of a con job, really. The internet's already decided that this new wave of monster, 5-inch-plus mobile phones ought to be called "phablets" but, perhaps with one eye on patents and copyrights and a need to grab as much intellectual land for itself as possible, Samsung's decided that "fonblet" is a better option.
It isn't. It's just as cumbersome and as stupid a word to say as phablet. It's one of those words, in fact, that you should never say out loud. If you own one of these large devices, simply call it a "really big phone" or a "massive phone" or just a "phone" to avoid looking like an idiot.
Internet reaction to Samsung's naming idea was pretty much unanimously negative, although, perhaps quite tellingly, no one could actually come up with anything better.
Over on the Register, user Shagbag wasn't impressed by Samsung's attempt to usurp the widely used phablet handle, saying: "This attempt by Samsung to differentiate itself and take control of terminology is doomed to failure (phailure?). Just like MSFT's pathetic attempt to call their tablets 'slates', which has hopelessly failed as the word 'tablet' was already in common usage by then and continues to be the dominant term used in the market today."
You know something's backfired when you're being compared with Microsoft. Meanwhile, over on Pocket-Lint, reader Robert Ryancloff broke out the ironic exclamation marks, with his comment: "All the awkwardness of watching a movie on a small screen coupled with all the awkwardness of trying to fit an iPad into your pocket... This is just what the market needs!"
Exclaim all you like, Robert, but the facts are that Samsung's selling container loads of these enormous phones, so much so that every other hardware maker is copying it as quickly as possible. So you're going to have to work out a comfortable way of holding one sooner or later.
Samsung Personal Communications Device IV
Over on tech news aggregator Ubergizmo, reader Fauxshizzle came up with an interesting naming challenge. He suggested: "I am surprised we still call them smartphones. The phone part is so secondary at this point it is pretty much a computer with mobile network capabilities. I can't think of a better term off the top of my head, but both phablet and fonblet are terrible names. That would be like Microsoft referring to their next console as the Xbone."
Hmm. Computer with mobile network capabilities. Comnets? Comblenets? Cornettos? Reader Raj Singh came up with some catchy alternatives of his own in response, adding: "I don't like either terms... they should be referred to as Person Telecommunications Devices or Personal Internet Devices or Personal Communications Device or something of that sort. It's not a phone; it's a phone, too."
Great ideas, Raj. Really catchy. Roll off the tongue, that lot. Can't wait to buy next year's Samsung Personal Communications Device IV.
Phomputer says no
One possible easy way out for Samsung and its naming quandary was offered by Gizmodo reader The Alpha Gamer, who suggested Samsung bung some of its cash in the direction of Asus for one of its existing big phone/small tablet names, saying: "Can't they just pay/bribe Asus and call it a Padfone?"
The way Samsung's hoovering up money from millions of smartphone buyers every month, it'll be able to buy the "iPad" name from Apple soon enough.