Naming the Lumia

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There's an interesting little piece on product naming here, talking about the process for Nokia of coming up with the 'Lumia' name for its Windows Phone handsets. I'd assumed there was an intention of associating the handsets with 'light', tying in with the brilliantly lit arches and panels at Nokia World, but it seems that simply avoiding other trademarks and word associations had just as much to do with the final name.

In 1980 there were only 10,000 trade marked high tech names in the US, now there are more than 300,000. “From an initial list of nearly 200 names only a handful made it through this stage for what was eventually the Nokia Lumia,” says Chris George. 

Then experts in 84 dialects started work, checking for any negative associations in different languages and assessing how easy they are to pronounce. Some letters like J, L R and V are difficult to pronounce in certain countries. Some languages don’t have certain letters in their alphabet (like Q in Polish). This process is never foolproof – as a couple of comments pointed out lumi, or lumia, is a very old Spanish word, long fallen into disuse. Chris George says “Although it was slang, we did pick that up and decided to run consumer research to check the connotations.  The results showed that over 60% of Spanish consumers thought it was a great name for mobile technology. They thought firstly of ‘light’ and ‘style’ rather than the more obscure, negative meaning”.

Lumia has particular meaning in Finland where lumi means snow, and lumia means snow in plural (they know a lot about wintery weather). 

Source / Credit: Nokia Conversations