Who Came Up With the Name Superphone? Not Google

There has been a lot of talk about “superphones” this week, thanks to a mobile conference being hosted by VentureBeat. CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt gives credit to Google for coining the phrase “superphone” as she goes on to outline what is a superphone. Unfortunately, that is not correct. Dolcourt is not alone, as there are other outlets that credit Google for coining the phrase “superphone.”

A little Google search for “superphone” would show that it popped up in 2006 and 2007. A blogger used the phrase (“super phone”) to describe an iMate phoneEngadget used it on November 14, 2007 to describe a Sony Ericsson phone. However, the phrase in current context of web-enabled computer-like phones was first used by John SanGiovanni, co-founder and VP of product design at Zumobi. In a column he wrote for us back in September 2008, he outlined and defined the onset of the superphone. He later used the same phrase in a panel at our Mobilize 08 conference. That was two years ago.

John even walked through some specifications for what adds up to be a superphone. Today at MobileBeat, Samsung’s chief strategy officer, Omar Khan, offered up his specs for a superphone – they mirrored a list of John’s specifications. The irony is, that at the time he wrote the column and used the term superphone, SanGiovanni took a lot of flack from our readers in the comments section. Since then, we have used the phrase superphone as a way to describe the newer web-centric phones in pieces such as “The Summer of Superphone”.

Google got into the superphone game in January 2010, when it used the term at its Nexus One launch. Since then, many others have started using it as part of the vernacular. I just wanted to set the record straight and give a little hat tip to the man who helped catalyze the use of the term superphone: thanks, SanGiovanni?.

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