Word of the Year Nomination: Device

It seems that with each passing day there is more and more technology in our daily lives.  Often these products overlap, are mobile and more and more run “apps.”

People need a single word to refer to all of these products in one fell swoop.  No one wants to say “Please be sure to turn off your hand-held game, camera, phone, tablet or laptop.”  Or “You can watch the TV show on your music player, phone, tablet, laptop or TV screen.”

Over the past few months a candidate has emerged.  It’s not a perfect word because it’s a bit generic and undefined but it seems to be doing the trick–and catching on.  The word is: Device.

The emergence of this word was driven home when I heard about “Device Design Day,” a conference that took place last month in San Francisco put on by Kicker Studio.  The slogan for the day was “Design for the next generation of products.” (The conference line-up by the way looked wonderful… Unfortunately I had to miss due to illness–but will hopefully be there next time.)

Another example: A recent headline and corporate prediction, “Ericsson CEO Predicts 50 Billion Internet Connected Devices by 2020.”  And the CEO is not just talking about mobile phone like products, he is also thinking of things like health care “devices.”

As you can see from the picture on this post, the airlines have adopted the word.  The airlines are using it with a modifier, “electronic.”  Device has been used this way for a while: mobile device, health care device, wireless device, connected device, etc.  But what I have been noticing more and more is the use of the word without a modifier.

In a recent New York Times blog, Nick Bilton wrote about a conversation he had with an employee in a local coffee shop.”  Bilton was using an e-reader.  The employee said “we don’t allow computers.”  When Bilton tried to explain that it was not a computer the employee basically said it was still a “device.”  The point was made.

Another: An organization is promoting a “No Deivce Day” trying to get people to take a day “to unplug and spend time with family.”  They have a pledge they’d like people to take in which people promise “to have ten No-Device Dinners between now and Thanksgiving Day 2010. Then make Thanksgiving Day a No-Device Day.”

While I think they are onto something with the No Device Dinners, I am more interested for the moment in the use of the word “device.”

A few more: A recent headline in The New York Times: A Device Sold Before its Time; A quote from a former Nokia employee about a product the company chose not to make, “it was an expensive device to produce, so there was more risk involved for Nokia. So management did the usual. They killed it.”

Your turn: Are you seeing growing use of the word “device?”  Have you seen an interesting example of where this word is appearing?  Leave a comment and let me know.

CC Photo Credit: miss_rogue