Intel's Awful Code Names - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
8/8/2008
07:39 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Building Security for the IoT
Nov 09, 2017
In this webcast, experts discuss the most effective approaches to securing Internet-enabled system ...Read More>>

Intel's Awful Code Names

Apple's relationship with Intel has done wonderful things for both companies. When Apple's engineers were managing the complicated transition from PowerPC chips to Intel silicon, Intel engineers were there to help. No doubt computer buyers are better off for this intermingling of talent.

Apple's relationship with Intel has done wonderful things for both companies. When Apple's engineers were managing the complicated transition from PowerPC chips to Intel silicon, Intel engineers were there to help. No doubt computer buyers are better off for this intermingling of talent.If only Intel's marketing department engaged with Apple's sales personnel in the same way.

Apple has a pretty good track record in terms of coming up with engaging product code names. Jaguar, Tiger, and Leopard may not be brilliant wordplay, but they're pretty good. The words are evocative and not particularly open to ridicule, as might be the case if Apple chose a code name like Shrew or Vole. Likewise, even for code names intended for internal use, like Dulcimer, the iPod's working title, Apple does well.

Intel, on the other hand, has some of the worst product code names ever, based on place names. Consider Harpertown, Penryn, Conroe, or Merom. It's like Intel's marketing people are just throwing darts at a map.

Back in the early '90s, Intel's 486 and Pentium chips had formidable-sounding code names: Triton, Mercury, Aries, and Saturn. Compare those with more recent ones that don't so much evoke anything as make you scratch your head: Whitney, Tehama, Colusa, and Canterwood. These aren't the sort of names that generate excitement. Sure, if you live in Colusa, it may be nice to get the nod from Intel. But in the wider world, the name isn't fraught with meaning.

Intel archrival AMD has done a bit better, having moved from the excessively whimsical names of dinosaurs in The Land Before Time (Sharptooth and Chomper) and the blandness of its K-series chips to code names like Mustang, Corvette, Sledgehammer, and Spitfire.

Granted, Intel has had a lot of chips to name -- Wikipedia has a rather lengthy list. But surely Intel can put a bit more effort into giving its chips distinct identities. The company is calling its new "many-core" architecture Larrabee.

It's a great name ... for a mule, or maybe for a necktie designed to double as a bib.

# # #

"What's that?"

"It's a 'Larrabee.' "

(Puzzlement.) "It's sorta wide for a tie."

"It's not just a tie. It's also a bib." (Silence.) "You know, for eating lobster and such. They advertise them on TV."

# # #

Next time, Intel, how about a code name that aims to convey something that might actually make you want to buy the product?

(I know your legal team is telling you to stay away from trademark territory, where all the interesting words live, but you've got to take some risks. And what better publicity could you get than a lawsuit?)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll