By Wailin Wong | Verizon Wireless began online pre-sales this week for the Droid Incredible, a new smartphone manufactured by Taiwanese company HTC Corp. If the Droid name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s already attached to two other phones at Verizon, including the Droid by Motorola, which was launched with a splashy marketing campaign late last year.
Verizon is using “Droid” to signify certain phones that run Google’s Android operating system, said spokesman David Clevenger. The carrier licenses the name “Droid” from Lucasfilm, the production company founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas.
“The Droid brand was designed to distinguish Verizon Wireless Android
phones from other Android phones in the marketplace and to denote that
our phones are connected to the Verizon Wireless network,” Clevenger
said. “We want to always talk about the value of our network. We want
them to think Droid: Verizon Wireless.”
The problem may be that consumers have been trained to think Droid:
Motorola, given that the Schaumburg-based company is the manufacturer of
the first Droid device. To further complicate matters, it’s not
Motorola, but a rival company, that is the producer of the other two
Droid phones at Verizon. HTC released the Droid Eris in November,
shortly after the launch of Motorola’s Droid.
“By the first Droid phone being named the Droid, and subsequent ones
using the Droid name and being from another manufacturer, it is
confusing,” said William Lozito, president of Strategic Name
Development, a brand naming company in Minnesota.
Clevenger said there hasn’t been confusion around the names because
Verizon “clearly said up front that the Droid was a name we attached to a
family of phones.” In addition, technology publications and other
consumers are shortening the Droid Incredible’s name to “Incredible,”
leaving out the Droid moniker altogether, Clevenger said.
Still, Lozito said the companies could have made the naming convention
clearer from the outset by attaching a sub-brand to Motorola’s Droid,
just as HTC’s phones have “Eris” and “Incredible” tacked onto their
Not all Android phones at Verizon will carry the Droid name, said
Clevenger, adding that the carrier will evaluate each device
individually. One example of a non-Droid phone running the Android
software is the Motorola Devour, which was launched in March.
HTC representatives could not be reached for comment. A Motorola
spokeswoman deflected questions about potential naming confusion,
instead saying that “Droid by Motorola received an overwhelmingly
positive response from consumers for delivering an uncompromising
experience, and we will continue working with carrier partners to launch
new devices with new experiences for consumers.”