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Does Your Smartphone Have a Name?

Rob Walker
Tech Columnist
Yahoo Tech

Past surveys indicate that something like one-quarter of Americans name their cars. Meanwhile, it’s been argued for years now that the dominant object in most of our lives isn’t the car anymore: It’s the mobile phone.

The somewhat weird question that flows naturally from these observations is, “Does your smartphone have a name?”

In my case, the answer is actually yes. My wife and I refer to her iPhone as “TiVo.” And we call my HTC One “Roomba.” So when we’re in a strange city, and lost, I’ll say, “Why don’t you ask TiVo which way we should go?” And my wife will counter: “Why don’t you ask Roomba?”

Yes, it’s ridiculous. But am I the only one who gives names to techie gadgets?

I asked around on Twitter a bit, and the answer seems to be no. People mentioned naming their tech after everything from characters in Shakespeare or Arthurian myth and Celtic folklore, to more pet-like monikers such as Shiny or iPaddy.

And is this really so strange? I think not.

It’s been well documented that lots of Roomba owners give their robot vacuums names. A couple of people mentioned naming their GPS units.

This surprised me, but it makes sense. In general, more people talk to their devices than ever — even if they address them by corporate-given names like “Siri” and “Glass.” And their devices talk back. It’s not so far-fetched that, as in the movie Her, we’ll eventually be asked to name our gizmos.

Admittedly, I suspect some people who answered my query were just making fun of me …

… but I still think naming smartphones and tablets and other techno-objects is more common than you might suspect. And will only get more so.

Write to me at rwalkeryn@yahoo.com or find me on Twitter, @notrobwalker. RSS lover? Paste this URL into your reader of choice:https://www.yahoo.com/tech/author/rob-walker/rss.