Five best pre-production code-names in tech

In 2 year's time it's unlikely that the majority of the population will remember that "Project Natal" was the original name for Microsoft's body controller system, as by then it will have launched as the Xbox "Binky", or some such final product name.

This little musing got us all thinking in the Pocket-lint virtual office as to what the best, most memorable, or simply most interesting code-names have been in the gadget and tech world.

Here are five more, you may, or may not know, brought to you from the annals of gadget history. Have a browse and feel free to add any of your faves in the comments box below.

Revolution
Sticking with gaming, the Nintendo Wii was originally referred to - right up to launch - as the more sinister-sounding "Revolution". At the time the name change was a surprise move - and a frankly surprising sounding name. Nintendo went a little way to explain the decision with: "While the code-name 'Revolution' expressed our direction, Wii represents the answer". Wii, easy to remember whatever your language, is also impossible to abbreviate so good for branding, while the "ii" spelling is said to represent "both the unique controllers and the image of people gathering to play."

Longhorn/Mojave
Microsoft's Vista operating system is an interesting one as it has had two code-names with "Longhorn" being the official in-house moniker used during development (incidentally XP was "Whistler", 7 is "Vienna"). However, as part of a later marketing exercise by Microsoft to test consumer's reactions to Vista after the software suffered from bad press, Microsoft gave it another code-name - Mojave - pretending that "Mojave" was a future OS due to launch soon.

10958
10958, later changed to 40404, was the code-name for the pre-launch version of Twitter. The five digits came from the fact that American SMS shortcodes are five characters. Interestingly, when launched as a beta service, Twitter wasn't called Twitter then either, it was called "twttr", inspired by Flickr and a brief fad for vowel-less, or vowel-lite words in the tech world that appears to have passed. Not that Motorola got the memo on that particular topic.

BackRub
Before Google had moved from the Stanford servers to a garage in Palo Alto, Larry and Sergey referred to the search engine as "BackRub". Wisely deciding the service needed a better name, the Google twosome decided on the G-word, eventually giving the English language a new verb too. Google is a play on the word "googol," a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros.

Dulcimer
Project P68, or the creation of the "Dulcimer", would eventually change the gadget - and digital music - industry, as the "iPod". Thankfully not launched under the "Dulcimer" (it's a musical instrument) name, Apple hired copywriter Vinnie Chieco to give the gadget a decent, marketable name. Said to have been inspired by Jobs' description of the device as a "hub", and the white plastic prototype, Chieco thought Space Odyssey and pod bay door... Apple added an "i" and the rest, as they say, is history.


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