Birth of a descriptor

Hardcore naming geeks understand that moment of quickening, when first we discover a new generic descriptor in the wild. That happened to me tonight when I read this article about 'kitchen PCs.' As computer descriptors go, 'kitchen PC' is clear and distinctive. It's too bad the product names in the kitchen PC category fall short.

The Asus Eee Top is bizarre. Is that like "Eee, a mouse"? It's a head scratcher for sure.

The Dell Studio One name is flat though inoffensive. No one would get fired for choosing such a safe name. Not sure anyone would clamor to buy one either, at least not based on the name.

The MSI Wind Top (the company name seems to be MSI Wind) is also bizarre, though mainly because of the word Wind in the company name; it just sort of comes from left field. Perhaps two companies MSI and Wind merged and this is the Frankenstein result. One interesting quality of the name is that in isolation, I was inclined to read the "wind" of MSI Wind as a breeze. But when the word "wind" is followed by the word "top" I'm suddenly unsure if it should be wind with a long "i" as in "wind a top." The context actually makes pronunciation of the name more ambiguous.

Although the Wired article suggests the kitchen PC category is new, I remember the ahead-of-its-time 3Com Audrey from the turn of the century. Today's kitchen PC marketers would be well served to find product names a little more like Audrey and a lot less like Eee Top.