The Stories Behind 10 of the Weirdest Tech Names

The Stories Behind 10 of the Weirdest Tech Names

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Taryn Williford
Sep 10, 2010

We sometimes wonder what someone from the past would think if they could eavesdrop on the 2000s—where weird words like TiVo, Bluetooth and Hulu have become universal. It makes this word-loving woman want to know where the heck these strange product and company names come from. Are they precociously picked from marketing research? Or was it simply a went-too-far nickname from the development department? We've got the origins behind 10 weird tech company names—from Apple to Wii—for you to challenge your friends with.

Could the stories behind some of these tech names be urban legend? Maybe. But they're still really fun. Check it out:

Apple
The Apple was Steve Jobs' favorite fruit, having worded at an Apple orchard for some time. But we can also blame the name on some procrastinating colleagues: One day, frustrated and three months late in filing a name for his young business, Jobs threatened to name it "Apple Computers" if nobody could suggest a better name by 5 o'clock.

Asus
The Taiwanese computer company wanted to name themselves after Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek myths. But to get a little edge on the competition, they dropped a few letters from the name, becoming "Asus," so they'd show higher in alphabetical lists (like this one!).

Blackberry
To Blackberry's developers, the teeny keys on these smartphones looked like seeds on a Strawberry. But since the name sounded off too "slow," the phone was given the temporary nickname of "Blackberry"—which obviously stuck.

Bluetooth
Bluetooth's developers knew their product would eventually unite all technology, letting your car talk to your phone and all that. So they named their signal after a peace-seeking Danish King, King Harald Blatland, whose last name translates to "blue tooth."

Google
Google comes from the word Googol, the term for the 101-digit number that is a 1 followed by 100 zeroes, a cocky reference to the amount of information the search engine could sift through.

Hotmail
Founder Jack Smith, in trying to pair up different words with "mail," settled on "Hotmail," because it contained the letters in HTML, the programming language used to write web pages.

HP
Founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett. It's still not known if Hewlett won with heads or tails.

Hulu
Hulu is a direct translation of the Mandarin Chinese word for "interactive recording."

TiVo
TiVo is now both a noun and a verb, but it was originally a made up word. TiVo was named from a mash up of the "TV" acronym with one for input/output, "IO."

Wii
The "Wii" moniker was chosen by Ninetndo for three reasons: It's a homophone of "we" (Nintendo liked the social spirit!), it's universal and doesn't mean any one thing in any language (teenage boys might disagree) and the word itself looks like two people standing next to each other.

Via Mental Floss, Kong Technology and Cybernet News

(Wii Drawing: OopsImAnArtist.blogspot.com)

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