I was reading an article this morning regarding the use of ARM-based chips in a number of devices including "smartbooks". It appears the industry would like you to now call those smaller and less powerful laptop computers a smartbook instead of netbook.
To describe these devices as a smartbook is idiotic marketing for two reasons. First, "netbook" is a term that has been around for two years and most people today recognize the term being applied to smaller sized notebooks. When you hear the question, "What is a smartbook?" it seems very natural to just answer by replying, "a smartbook is a netbook". Secondly, I have to say it's very moronic (worse than ironic) to call a dumbed-down notebook a smartbook. At least when you say "smartphone" it is in reference to increased functionality over the traditional mobile phone and not less functionality.
I do not like the word "smart" being attached to devices and applications that are far from actually being intelligent on their own. Is marketing that insecure in the devices they're selling that they need to attach the word "smart" to cover up their own lack of intelligence? I have a theory that any time we attach the word "smart" to software or devices it is inviting doom into our lives.
At work we have operational applications that uses utility scripts to replace repetitive business processes our operational folks do a thousand times a day. These utilities are scripts written in Python and they are called "smartTools". I promise you, with the amount of time we have spent fixing and rewriting these smartTool, we have found smartTools to be less than smart (although admittedly the scripts are time savers for our workers). Oh, and when we automate those smartTools we call it a smartInit again causing me to lose additional respect with my non-IT peers.
Just like my smartTools are likely to break, your "smartcard" is likely to lose its magnetic strip and lock you from entering a simple door. While Grandma can handle using her netbook for reading her email she will more than likely be calling you at 6 AM in the morning if you told her it is a smartbook. Oh, and that smartphone looks like it may have gotten a little too smart for its own good because it now needs smarter software to tell you that you just loaded malware on the device. I'm telling you the word "smart" invites doom because in the end being labeled smart just isn't enough.
Now I'm sure I'll have marketing experts defend the terms they use to describe the devices they're pushing on the rest of us. However, if you're going to call yourself an "expert" on my blog, have I told you lately what I think of people that self-describe themselves as an "expert"? Marketers and experts...please bring no more doom into my life.
Bryan Ruby is the owner and editor for CMS Report. He founded CMSReport.com in 2006 on the belief that information technologists, website owners, and web developers desired visiting sites where they could learn about content management systems without the sales pitch. Besides this site, you can follow Bryan at Google+ and Twitter.