Word for an Internet-enabled computing device

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Mon Sep 26 21:21:31 UTC 2011

At Diva Espresso, there is a notice that if you register your coffee card online, you get five dollars. It says that the wizard will guide your "computer or phone" through the process. Not reading the notice with much attention, it took a second take to figure out that by "phone" they meant "smart phone," but on further reflection, feature phones might be able to handle something like this as well.

Clearly, the phrase "computer or phone" is trying to describe an Internet-enabled device with computing capacity, which clearly includes tablet computers and perhaps feature phones. Even though a "tablet computer" is a computer by definition, I have trouble with idea that an iPad is a computer. I've only touched an iPad once or twice, but my understanding is that they are more like a large-screen smart phone.

Perhaps "computing device" is the wise choice for being inclusive.

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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