Marketing. It's a maze we all have to navigate at some point during our daily lives. We are constantly bombarded with eye-catching buzzwords to get us excited about mystical new technology. Even buzzword, is a buzzword. Technology is moving fast, but strip out the fancy marketing terms and you'll realize that beneath many buzzwords lie technology already familiar to us.


Separating Fact from Hype

Below is a list of "creative" marketing terms with their actual definitions. See if you agree with me:

  • Retina Display - Just a clear picture.
  • Technicolor - More saturated colors.
  • HD Radio - HD literally has no meaning in this context. The radio signal may be broadcast digitally, but HD does not mean, High Definition, as the marketing people would like to have you believe.
  • The Cloud - For all intents and purposes, it's just the web, the internet, and so on. No different from what you're used to. Just a "loftier" name to something that has become stale.
  • Big Data - A large amount of data. Woo-hoo.
  • Solid State - Simply put, devices that are built from solid materials are considered solid-state. Um, isn't that most things? Look, I'm wearing a solid state hat! So what.
  • Flash Memory - Flash is easier to say than, "I brought the report on my EEPROM chip with a thin oxide layer separating a floating gate and control gate utilizing Fowler-Nordheim electron tunneling." It's just memory with a, quite literally, flashy name.
  • Plasma TV - Refers less often to blood products than to a kind of television screen technology that uses a matrix of gas plasma cells. Cool word though.
  • Surround Sound - Multiple speakers that surround the listener. Nothing surprising here.
  • Data Migration - Moving Information from here to there. Whoop-dee-do.
  • Ultrabook - Laptop
  • NFC smartphone - NFC is the new high-tech acronym for Near Field Communication which uses radio waves. In other words, walkie-talkie.
  • OLED TV - Organic Light-Emitting Diodes. Supposedly a better picture is generated, but I see no evidence of that.
  • Out-of-the-box - Does what it's supposed to do when purchased.
  • Virtual Classroom - Learning on a computer.
  • Prosumer - This is a marketing term for high-end products bought by professional consumers, and means very close to nothing. What exactly is a "professional consumer"?
  • Web 2.0 - And I have an amplifier that goes to 11. Just stop it.