By Joe Levi | August 11, 2010 6:00 AM
How important is a brand name? In the context of cellular phones: very, very important.
While standing in line at a local amusement park I sent a text to my wife, letting her know where the kids and I were. As I was putting my phone away I heard someone ask “Hey, is that a Droid?”
“It’s a Nexus One”, I replied off the cuff.
“Oh, it looks like my Droid,” at which point he pulled out his MyTouch 3G.
Realizing he meant “Android” and not “Droid”, I replied, “Oh, yeah, mine runs Android, too.” We then went on to show off our favorite apps and what we wanted for future devices.
But it’s the initial misunderstanding that stuck with me. Earlier this week Brandon emailed me: “Isn’t it funny how on the radio you occasionally hear ‘mobile app works with your iPhone, BlackBerry, or Droid’…” meaning “Android”?
Which got me thinking…
If I were to ask you the name of Apple’s phone, you’d immediately reply “iPhone”, right?
If I were to ask you the name of Microsoft’s phone, what would you answer? Windows Mobile? Kin? Windows Phone 7 Series?
If I were to ask you the name of Google’s phone, what would you answer? Nexus One? Android? or simply “Droid”?
Of course, “Droid” is the brand name of Verizon’s Android-power phones. “Droid” is also a registered trademark of one of George Lucas’ many, many companies — used by permission.
That brings us back on point: How important is a brand name?
If you walk into a phone store and ask to see their selection of Droids, you’ll be sent to the Verizon section (even if they have Android-powered T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint phones to show you). This is a little nugget of genius on the part of Verizon. All of their Androids (that I know of) carry the “Droid” moniker. The Droid (original), Droid Eris, Droid X, Droid Incredible, and Droid 2 all carry the “Droid” brand with them.
Compare this to AT&T’s, T-Mobiles, and Sprint’s phones: no common branding.
Has Verizon essentially hijacked the “Android” platform with its Droid’s?