Each year the consumer electronics industry coins a few new words to describe the next big thing. Some catch on (smartphone), some don’t (remember “convergence?” It was supplanted by smartTV.) As some 150,000 members and watchers of the consumer electronics industry gather in Las Vegas this week, they share new buzzwords as easily as they share flu germs. I’d heard of ultra before (as in UltraHD, the TV format formerly known as 4K). But the rest of these were new to me:
Second-screen devices: You think of your smartphone or pad computer as, well, a smartphone or pad computer. To the TV industry, they are something entirely different. They are second-screen devices, to be used while watching your TV, or to control your TV. These are also being called companion devices, but that makes them sound like guide dogs; I think second-screen will be the buzzword that catches on.
Superphone: Smart phones are, well, not that smart. Or not as smart as the next generation of smart phones will be—that’s why they’re being called superphones. I’m still trying to find out what exactly makes a smart phone earn the super title.
Linear content: What is linear content? It’s the opposite of streaming content. I think.
I’ll be updating this post with new consumer electronics buzzwords as they buzz by me.
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Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.