Name Critic rates Centrino

Our Rating

What has Intel got inside? Is it Pentium®, Itanium®, Celeron®, Xeon™ or now Centrino™?And where do they find all these interesting and strange names? What do they mean? Some of you may recall how Intel first got smart about the naming business (see Name Stories if you don’t) and came up with the name Pentium – abandoning forever their simple number schemes – to the chagrin of engineers but eventually to enormous success in the processor brand wars.

Well truth be told, they don’t find these names themselves. All names come from naming agencies -after extensive worldwide legal checks. Do you see specific meanings in any of these names? Perhaps only in Pentium. So why does a company with such a simple English abbreviation for its own name pick such coined names? Why don’t they ask their agency(s) for more English-like names? Because they are all taken, that is why! Or at least it is a very difficult to get world wide trademark clearance on any existing word – especially when you want to use that word to build an exclusive brand that can never be confused with anything else.

Yes, Intel could afford to do so – after all they have a lot of money. But that is such a waste. Rather they spend a little up front getting a unique new name, register it properly, and greatly simplify their worldwide protection and development of that name.

Another interesting note about their names is the fact that they are all coined in what is known as a classic style. All of their names feel like they could have come from ancient Greek or Latin writings. This is very clever, because such names can be imbued with a sharp, techy edge to them, yet will last the tests of time.

As for Centrino itself, we do think this choice would have been slightly more appropriate for a security chip rather than a wireless one, as we hear strong overtones of sentry or centurion. But perhaps Intel hasn’t told us the full story yet! Meanwhile, the logo is just a little disappointing – not that it is easy making clean, simple, small logos for almost meaningless classic words. Were their designers (like too many others nowadays) overly influenced by Microsoft’s butterfly or NBC’s peacock?

Guess where leads you?

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See his industry naming commentary (where he takes a critical look at names) via the blog on this site