Newt Gingrich is “really puzzled.” No, not about whether he will run for office again — he’s got fairly clear answers to that — but about cell phones. Well, not about the devices themselves, he is more puzzled about what to call them now that the devices do much more than make a phone call.
The former House speaker and 2012 GOP presidential candidate took to the Gingrich Productions YouTube channel late last week to ask his viewers and fans what the modern-day cell phone should be called.
“Think about it. If it is taking pictures, it’s not a cell phone. If it has a McDonald’s app to tell you where McDonald’s is based on your GPS location — that’s not a cellphone. If you can get Wikipedia or go to Google — that’s not a cell phone. If you can watch YouTube — that’s not a cell phone. Or Netflix,” Gingrich says in the video as he holds up his iPhone. “This device is something new and different. I have been calling it a handheld computer.”
However, Gingrich decides that that’s not the right word and that the term is misleading. “Its real power is not internal computation, its real power is networking,” he says.
Gingrich doesn’t refer to the term “smartphone” — the popular term for modern-day cell phones with touchscreens and app-based operating systems — in the video or post on the Gingrich Productions website. Commenters on the site and on the video have suggested that that the term “smartphone” is already the commonly agreed upon name.
When reached by ABC News, Woody Hales, Gingrich Productions Press Coordinator, said that Gingrich does not think the term “smartphone” fits either. “It’s not a smarter way to make phone calls,” Hales told ABC News. “The word still makes reference to a phone, but it’s not primarily a phone anymore,” he added.
Gingrich is no stranger to modern technology and has been a proponent of pushing forward innovations in health and manufacturing technology. “The development of 3D printing is revolutionary. The impact of regenerative medicine will be extraordinary. The potential of drones and robots is close to science fiction,” Gingrich wrote in an article on Human Events in March.
In the cell phone video he stressed the social, educational and economic impact of the should-be-named device. “What would you call this? So we can explain to people that they carry in their hand literally the potential to have a dramatic revolution in how we get things done, in how we take care of our own health, in how we interact with our government and in how we are productive.”