Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Newt Gingrich wants to rename the cell phone, doesn't think smartphone is smart enough

Newt Gingrich wants to rename the cell phone. The cellular phone, mostly abbreviated cell phone or cellphone, got its name because a cellular phone system divides an area into small cells, and cell phones connect and disconnect as they enter and exit cells. However, as was reported on Monday, Gingrich thinks the ubiquitous device needs to be renamed, since it no longer just makes phone calls.

The former House speaker and 2012 GOP presidential candidate posted a video to the Gingrich Productions YouTube channel, ask his followers what they believe the modern-day cell phone should be called. He said:
Think about it. If it is taking pictures, it’s not a cell phone. If it has a McDonald’s app to tell you where McDonald’s is based on your GPS location —- that’s not a cellphone. If you can get Wikipedia or go to Google —- that’s not a cell phone. If you can watch YouTube —- that’s not a cell phone. Or Netflix.

This device is something new and different. I have been calling it a handheld computer.

What would you call this? So we can explain to people that they carry in their hand literally the potential to have a dramatic revolution in how we get things done, in how we take care of our own health, in how we interact with our government and in how we are productive.
Gingrich is correct in that modern day mobile devices are more powerful than early computers. However, he ignores the fact that such devices -- while containing the innards that still allow them to make phone calls -- already have a name. Most agree that name to be "smartphone."

Many of the comments on the YouTube channel pointed that out as well. Others, though, issued snarky comments, such as:
We at Gingrich Productions have spent weeks trying to figure out what you call this."

... You are paying these people? For what? Can I work there?
Meanwhile, Woody Hales, Gingrich Productions Press Coordinator, said that despite agreement on the term "smartphone," Gingrich does believe that is accurate, either. Hales said:
It’s not a smarter way to make phone calls. The word still makes reference to a phone, but it’s not primarily a phone anymore.
It's true that the number of phone calls made on (ahem) mobile devices have dropped while communication via text, chat, or email has climbed, but is it really that "smart" to get into such a discussion?

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